Pam MacKinnon's staging keeps things lean and spare, her ensemble cast functioning comfortably as five organic, interlocking elements (Arkin also, briefly yet brilliantly, plays Anna's hotheaded husband). Using multiple narrators, and owing to Anna's propensity to overdramatize, Greenberg's fluid storytelling style is Rashomon-like. O'Hara is less charismatic than one might have hoped for, her portrayal of Anna as a flighty goofball seemingly better suited to sitcom than to this play. Though she's off by a beat or two dramatically, O'Hara's comedic timing is letter-perfect, and she easily handles Anna's sudden transitions from amusingly illogical to cranky and venomous. As comfortable with their roles are Gross as Seth, a gay newspaper obituary writer, and Hinkle as Abby, a lesbian mom about to leave her life partner. Greenberg erases any recognizable gay or lesbian stereotypes from these roles, leaving Gross and Hinkle with the siblings' quick wits when trading gentle barbs. Arkin's slight lisp and disarming manner make Phil an unassuming, likable, middle-aged widower who may or may not have catalyzed one of America's most controversial, and traumatic, episodes.
Presented by and at South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. April 11–May 3. Tue.–Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.–Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.
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