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Phoenix Theatre’s newest play, The Lyons, is a hilarious show, and Diane Kondrat shines in her final role in Indy.
Nestled in a quiet nook of Mass Ave, the Phoenix creates an unexpected and intimate atmosphere for theatergoers. If you haven’t had the chance to see a show in this eclectic enclave, now is the time to venture out, as one of its veteran thespians, Bloomington resident Diane Kondrat, performs her last role in Indy as Rita in The Lyons.
It’s a wildly hysterical performance considering the heavy topic at hand (more on that below), and Rita Lyons and her husband Ben Lyons (played by the brilliant Charles Goad) had the audience in stitches with nearly every other line. This original play is relatively new, having premiered on Broadway in April 2012. The adaptation is scaled down to accommodate a smaller space, but the entertainment value remains.
For the majority of the play, we peer into a private hospital room, Ben’s, as he lies dying of terminal cancer. Ben and Rita aren’t a happily married couple, but writer Nicky Silver has the two going back and forth with realistically crass dialogue. Their disdain for one another is one of the elements that makes the play so funny, if in a desperate way.
Their two grown children, Curtis (Scot Greenwell) and Lisa (Angela Plank), add to the family’s dysfunctional dynamic. It’s obvious that this clan is not tightly knit, and considering that its patriarch's condition is what brings everyone together after years apart. While the first half of the play elicits the most droll situational dialogue, the play takes an unexpected turn during the second half, revealing a darker side to the intriguing, complex relationships initially introduced.
Be sure to allow plenty of travel time before the show, as parking is limited and seating is not assigned. Come early, grab a table and a glass of chardonnay, and enjoy one of the city's most beloved actresses in her final role before the proverbial final curtain falls on her here.
The Lyons runs through March 31. Thurs. 7 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. $28 for adults; $18 for 21 and under. Phoenix Theatre, 749 N. Park Ave., 635-7529, phoenixtheatre.org.
Photos by Zach Rosing
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