Los Angeles Theater Review: A SHORT STAY AT CARRANOR (Theatre West)

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by Jesse David Corti on August 31, 2013

in Theater-Los Angeles

TOO MUCH OF TOO LITTLE FOR TOO LONG

An aged widow and an even more aged married man have a shared, passionate history with each other that ended after World War II. Now, nearly seventy years later, they find themselves with an opportunity to reunite, make up for lost time, and take one last shot for happily ever after. In his attempt to write his On Golden Pond, William Blinn (Brian’s Song and Roots) offers A Short Stay at Carranor, but the play’s poignant ruminations of senior living, dignity, and fulfillment are overshadowed by its pugnacious, predictable storytelling and sentimental plodding. The result is an enervating puddle an inch wide and an inch deep.

Jesse David Corti’s Stage and Cinema review of “A Short Stay in Carranor” at Theatre West

Lee Meriwether and Donald Moss star as the aforementioned lovers, Irene and Chet, who were both well aware early on that their love affair was destined to be a brief one. Enter a wrench in their happiness: Irene’s one-dimensional daughter Shelby (Corinne Shor). Her squawking about how wrong and terrible her mother is for indulging herself in this affair becomes immediately tedious – especially when her hard lines are crossed as freely as Obama’s with Syria.

Jesse David Corti’s Stage and Cinema review of “A Short Stay in Carranor” at Theatre West

Inevitably, the audience and Shelby learn more about the passionate love shared between Chet and Irene, and even though he’s a hard-line conservative, there’s still a lot to like about Chet. It wasn’t flightiness that made him fled, but the social norms of that bygone era. Although they loved their significant others in their marriages, the one true love they both share is each other. Now if only that nagging daughter would just accept this relationship until this terminal man reaches his term.

Jesse David Corti’s Stage and Cinema review of “A Short Stay in Carranor” at Theatre West

Moss and Meriwether share good chemistry, but the script’s paint-by-numbers, corny dialogue and lack of nuance give them little room to escape the constraints of mundanity. John Gallogly’s direction makes the piece feel like an afternoon TV movie on the Lifetime channel. At the end, the exhausting, overly padded drama of the daughter’s disgust versus her mother’s fulfillment resolves in such an untruthful, schmaltzy manner that it only reinforces the utter mediocrity of the piece as a whole.

photos by Thomas Mikusz

A Short Stay at Carranor
Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West
scheduled to end on September 29, 2013
for tickets, call (323) 851-7977 or visit http://www.theatrewest.org

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