Leaves of Glass ★★★★ Park Theatre | May 11 - Jun 3, 2023

Leaves of Glass is an intense drama about the peeling back of levels of trauma and how a family copes with this process. Steven and his brother, Barry, are ostensibly dealing with the unexpected death of their father, and their coping mechanisms are very different. Like his father, Barry is artistic. He expresses his grief and anguish through paintings focussed on destruction and war and through alcohol abuse. In contrast, Steven is more like their mother, Liz. He represses his feelings and becomes the caretaker of the family. Steven copes through detachment and denial, and it is only when his wife becomes pregnant that his façade begins to crumble and buried truths start to emerge. Both brothers are forced to deal with the complexity of their personal relationship and with memories that have been repressed. Philip Ridley's play is somewhat predictable and symbol-ridden, but its power is released through some very strong performances. Both Ned Costello and Joseph Potter are riveting as the symbiotic siblings who try to manage a complex present while fleeing a haunting past. As Steven's wife, Debbie, Katie Buchholz does a fine job as a surrogate for the audience who only witness the surface presentation of concealed, unknown events. Kacey Ainsworth also puts in a bravura performance as the boys' controlling mother who is in deep denial about those issues she cannot control. Leaves of Glass deals with some difficult subject matters, but as the secrets come tumbling out, the portrayals are affecting and convincing. This a disturbing and challenging piece that is elevated by a fine production.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Mark Senior.

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