Theater Review: The Outgoing Tide (North Coast Rep in Solana Beach)

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by Milo Shapiro on June 12, 2022

in Theater-San Diego


The description on North Coast Rep’s website for this show is quite vague and, having just come home from the program, it’s clear why. One of the great challenges in reviewing a show is revealing just enough to interest the reader, but not so much as to give away the reason to see it. The Outgoing Tide presents a challenge here more than any review this author has penned.

There is an unexpected revelation about ten minutes into the show that sets a key theme for the piece and then another just past the middle of Act I that deepens the plot and the reason you’ll be talking about this show on the way home. To reveal either would undermine the grace with which playwright Bruce Graham unfolds the material for us.

Linda Gehringer and Andrew Barnicle

What can be said is that we are presented with a family drama about a couple in their seventies who live aside a quiet lake plus their visiting adult son. Together, they are trying to work through, too late in life, the issues that have made them far from a healthy family. What’s more, the son is repeating history with a pending divorce and his own son, whom he relates to about as poorly as he does his own father. Sorry, folks, but anything more than that and it would be a loss to enjoying the show. But don’t let not knowing stop you from coming.

Andrew Barnicle and Leo Marks

Nike Doukas’s direction is careful and gentle, creating a reminiscence of On Golden Pond. The show is less about plot advancement than peeling back the layers of each separate relationship and how the three function (or don’t) together. Andrew Barnicle, as the father Gunner, brings out the dark comedy moments with ease. Linda Gehringer pulls at our heartstrings as mother Peg, pulled in two directions while trying to maintain her own sense of self. Leo Marks, as son Jack, rides an emotional wave as he strives to empathize with these two people whom he still doesn’t quite understand after fifty years. Their issues are unique to each other but, for us, all-too-relatable and steeped in some of the greatest fears we all have.

The result is a beautifully told, poignant tale of the struggle to be true to oneself while granting room for loved ones to have what they want. Bank on a lump in your throat — maybe keep a tissue nearby, just in case.

photos by Aaron Rumley

The Outgoing Tide
North Coast Repertory Theatre
987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach
Wed at 7; Thurs & Fri at 8; Sat at 2 & 8; Sun at 2 & 7
ends on July 3, 2022
for tickets, call 858.481-1055 or visit North Coast Rep

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