reviewed by Paula Citron
August: Osage County
Mirvish Productions/Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Written by Tracy Letts
Directed by Anna D. Shapiro
Starring Estelle Parsons, Shannon Cochran Angelica Torn and Amy Warren (heading a cast of 13)
At the Canon Theatre until Nov. 15
Tracy Letts won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for August: Osage County. The play originated with Chicago’s famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company and is touring to Toronto under the Mirvish banner. It is three and a half hours of family dysfunction mercifully punctuated by perverse humour. The ensemble cast is superb.
One very hot August, all the secrets are revealed in the Weston family of Osage County, Oklahoma when the father disappears and is later found dead – an apparent suicide. The neurotic, pill-popping matriarch, Violet Weston, played by Academy Award Winner Estelle Parsons, is an absolute harridan who wrecks havoc on the family gathering when her three daughters and their various attachees arrive home because of the crisis.
The third act verges on melodrama, but overall the play is witty, smart, perceptive and an emotional ringer. You can’t help but laugh at Letts’ outrageous dialogue in this tour-de-force drama.
August: Osage County continues at the Canon Theatre until Nov. 15.