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Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Morning's at Seven Paul Osborn's 1939 play is set in a small town where the characters live within walking distance of each other. Four sisters and their husbands, sons and new niece-in-law make small talk with and about each other, and that takes up the bulk of the action. When the play is done well, these characters embrace a universal humanity, much like those in Thornton Wilder's Our Town. But the deft touch required to bring this lovely valentine to life has mostly eluded this revival at Playhouse 1960, where the gentle subtext of resignation and paths not followed has either been forgotten or never considered. Only two of the characters, scheming Cora (Cora Byers), who wants to move into a new house on the corner to be rid of her live-in sister Aaronetta, and emancipated Esther (Tess Wells), who defies her snob of a husband (a fine Jack Dunlop) to spend time with her family (whom he describes with relish as "morons"), make an impression as real-life portrayals. Besides these two, only Dunlop and Janice Keyes, as eternally optimistic Myrtle, seem to have read the play. The others fumble for their characters without supplying any inner life at all, reading their lines as if still at the point of an early run-through. There's not much thought given to the physical production, either. The lighting doesn't delineate morning from evening, and the dining-room chairs set out in the backyard are unexplained, as is the hideous makeup on husband Theodore, whose "old age" looks like he's been attacked by wayward grease pencils out for revenge. Through February 17. 6814 Gant, 281-58-STAGE.

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