Actor Julia Blake. Photo: Angela Wylie
Red Stitch Actors Theatre
Until March 9
IF THERE'S sentimentality in this gentle, odd-couple story by young American playwright Amy Herzog, there is also great honesty.
The setting is the Manhattan apartment of Vera, a 90-year-old communist and the grandmother of Leo, a New Age-ish college dropout, who arrives out of the blue after cycling across America. Estranged from the rest of his family, he settles into Vera's spare room, intending only to stay a few days. As the days become weeks, however, Leo's emotional fragility becomes increasingly apparent and the truth of what happened on his epic journey emerges.
Julia Blake and Tim Ross - Vera and Leo - bind themselves to each other in utterly convincing ties of love, giving performances to savour. Ngaire Dawn Fair and Haiha Le in supporting roles give us the human context of Leo's secret grief with delicacy and credibility.
Mark Pritchard's direction is in tune with Herzog's tender, observational style. Clare Springett's superb lighting makes dawn steal softly through the apartment, so that light itself looks like a moral force.
Most impressive in this quiet drama is the all-but-flawless way its large themes - community and family, love and death - gradually come into focus around these ordinary characters.