Over the River and Through the Woods | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Over the River and Through the Woods 

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Over the River and Through the Woods, Mercury Theater. Joe DiPietro has written a love story for a boy and his grandparents. Oh, there's a girl in it--a girl smart enough to recognize that her introduction to the clan by its elders is a stratagem to dissuade their grandson from leaving New Jersey, where they all live, and taking a job on the west coast. But the focus of this bittersweet comedy is what the young and the old expect of each other--and what they owe each other.

Director Michael Weber and his cast--venerable character actors Bernie Landis, Renee Matthews, Vince Viverito, and Glory Kissel as the two sets of grandparents and bright youngsters Matt Orlando and Shana Goodsell--tailor their performances to the intimate space of the Mercury Theater. Softening the play's sitcom aspects amplifies its enduring wisdom and the characters' richly textured history. And after a run at the Theater at the Center in Munster, Indiana, the ensemble interacts like a real family.

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