"Utter and complete lack of communication is the true basis of any happy family!" 37 Postcards, running at Lake Country Playhouse through February 11th, is a delightful romp through the tilted, topsy-turvy lives of the Suttons as young Avery Sutton returns to the family home after eight years away.
Given LCP's uniquely intimate space, theatre patrons are drawn into the Sutton home before the play even begins. Upon entering the house, audiences step through the elegant, intricate parlor... which is tilted at a distinct angle. Set designer Scott Prox's work sets the tone for the entire storyline, in which only the token straight man, Avery (Jason Nykiel), recognizes that something is slightly sideways in upscale Connecticut.
Lifetime LCP Board Member Dorothy Blish is the highlight of the show, with her crass Nana (who is not dead, as Evelyn had thought) crossing the stage from time to time and throwing in her own two cents, usually in the form of jaw-dropping insults. With Avery's fiancée Gillian being the brunt of these one-liners, first-time stage actress Alex Sturycz doesn't quite match Blish's energy during these short quips. Later, though, as circumstances escalate, Sturycz steps impressively out of her shell with notable puppetry. Skippy comes to life in her hands.
Sara Sarna as Evelyn Sutton and Laura Larson as Aunt Ester are slow to find their pace in the first act. However, when Ester becomes a valuable confidant for Avery, and Evelyn is forced to face hard truths, the actresses gain a commanding presence both as individuals and as scene partners. Evelyn is particularly tender in moments with husband Stanford Sutton (Mike Crowley); the married couple embodies the love at the heart of Michael McKeever's play.
37 Postcards speaks a truth all too familiar in this post-holiday season: family is crazy. While that doesn't typically include (un)dead grandparents and house-eating sinkholes, Jim Baker's direction brings light to the underlying theme at play: we love it, for everything it entails. As Avery discovers, nothing can replace family - not even the moon.