Patty & Emily at The Country House

Well, the title of the play says it all. It’s called The Country House. And the types of people who have country houses are typically rich families. So, here’s another play about a rich family all stuck in one place getting their shit out together. A slight twist on the formula, though borrowing from another formula: this family is all actors. So it’s a play about actors too! And frankly, it was all a lot of stuff we’ve seen before.

The cast was fine. Led by Blythe Danner, whose character makes some comment about how she wouldn’t be able to open a play on Broadway because she’s not a movie star. Cut to the marquee of the Friedman that is just a giant photo of movie star Blythe Danner. It’s supposed to be a self-aware joke, but it kind of fell flat since that tends to actually be the sad reality.Sarah Steele was really great, and funnily enough, hers was the only character who wasn’t in the “family business” of acting. Unfortunately, the play didn’t really make it easy to like any of the other characters, so the actors had to work extra hard because we think we were supposed to like them?

The one thing this play about a family didn’t have was a “big reveal.” Instead, the second act devolved into everyone discussing the unloved son and his issues with his mother. Again, how original. But not to be outdone, everyone got a chance to explain why their situation was worse. It was like that scene in Notting Hill where Julia Roberts tries to convince everyone that her life as a super rich, super famous actress is worse than the others (including a woman in a wheelchair). She doesn’t win the brownie, and neither did any of the characters in The Country House. It did have a lovely living room set, though. That’s about it.

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