Regional Reviews: Connecticut and the Berkshires
One of the most fascinating things about the production was how the four characters alternately bonded and collided into each other. In the two leading roles, Clare Parme and Maria McConville were an absolute joy to watch. With a tough mouth and a Long Island accent, McConville played Lina, a real no-nonsense person with real heart. Just as fine was Parme, in the somewhat more sympathetic part of Jessie, a new mother who is trying to work it out to become a stay-at-home mom, although she has a career as a high-powered lawyer and is about to make partner.
At first, with their differences, these two characters didn't seem like they could ever become friends, but a solid and unlikely bond was made and both actresses were hysterically funny, as well as being quite touching. The sight of Parme and McConville precariously balanced on a tiny piece of children's playground equipment, while drinking coffee, gossiping, and comparing notes about motherhood, was a delightful image I am not likely to forget.
As it turned out, the other two performers in the cast were equally as good. In smaller roles, Jonathan Winn was excellent as Mitchell, a new father who is trying to get his wife to socialize more with other mothers. Winn brought a real sense of wonder and happiness to the part of a parent of a newborn, especially in his final scene opposite Parme's Jesse. Playing Mitchell's wife Adrienne, Wynter Kullman was almost actively irritating and rude in her first scene onstage, but that was exactly how her character was written. It was a credit to the playwright and to the director of Cry It Out that Kullman eventually did get to reveal the source of her anger and the surprising and moving reasons why her character was the way she was.
The scenic design by Fufan Zhang was just right, simple yet effective, and costume designer Brenda Phelps obviously had fun designing the various outfits the new mothers wore. Lighting design by Lydia Strong was splendid. In fact, the entire production of Cry It Out was memorable and deeply gratifying. The only downside was that, since it was the final performance, I didn't have the opportunity to recommend the play to anyone.
Along with their current production of the Birds of North America, Thrown Stone Theatre Company demonstrates that they are a significant new presence on the Connecticut regional theatre scene and I can't wait to see what shows they will offer next season.
Cry It Out played at Thrown Stone Theatre Company, 440 Main St., Ridgefield CT. For more information, visit www.thrownstone.org.