'Tis the Old Season

Far off Broadway but reminiscent of the Great White Way's yesteryears

Still the production left me with two unfulfilled wishes. First, I wanted McKeever and London to push the play toward a deeper, more emotional core. Sure this is light fare, but McKeever has clearly set his sights on some serious issues of parent/child relationships and the need for individual freedom. He keeps referencing the dysfunctional family ties in King Lear and cites Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire as well. But perhaps a better reference here is Williams's The Glass Menagerie, in which a frustrated son finally breaks free of his domineering mother. That's part of the equation of Open Season, and in this McKeever has the potential to deliver a more challenging, risky story (and perhaps could be the solution to his second-act woes). Which brings me to my second wish: Even though McKeever as actor brings a number of gifts to this production, I wish he weren't onstage during this run. Had he stayed a playwright and sat in the house watching, I suspect he would have found a way to improve and deepen his script.

All that said, there is a good dose of old-fashioned charm to this Open Season. McKeever has created some appealing, if familiar characters and his dialogue is crisp and often witty. If the plot seems to self-destruct in the second act, well, even this seems an ode to Broadway of years ago -- second-act problems kept Moss Hart in business as a script doctor for years. And why do you suppose Neil Simon's nickname is Doc?

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