A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG by Peter Nichols
Directed by Peter Zinn
at the Workshop Theater Company's Mainstage Theater
312 W. 36th Street, 4th Floor, New York City
Set Designers: Jack and Rebecca Cunningham
Costume Designer: Ben Philipp
Lighting Designer: Jacqueline Reid
Sound Designer: Jeanne Travis
Properties Designer: Sara Slagle
Dialect Coach: Charley Layton
Stage Manager: Ricardo Rust*
Assistant Stage Manager: Veronica Gheller
Press Representative: Lanie Zipoy
Marketing Photographer: Kristen Vaughan
Title Artist: Matilda Szydagis
Production Photographer: Connolly Photo NYC
Greg Oliver Bodine*, Becky Byers*, Heather E. Cunningham*, Emily Jon Mitchell*, Matthew Trumbull* and Kristen Vaughan.
*Appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.
"Retro Productions presents a heart-wrenching interpretation of Peter Nichols’ A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. If you haven’t had the chance to see this play and have always wanted to, this would be the production to see... The design of the show is delightful... The set design by Jack and Rebecca Cunningham is simple and ingenious... They effectively transformed a stage into a living room and a living room back into a stage. Ben Phillip’s costume design fit not only into the era but worked with the set itself... Sound design by Jeanne Travis was subtle but effective in evoking the era and juxtaposing moments of great tension with innocent songs, underlining the perversity of this play.
The acting was out of this world. Matthew Trumbull as Bri was a leader for the show. He delivered his monologues unrelentingly but there was still a vulnerability to his performance, one that didn’t excuse his selfishness but did explain it. Heather Cunningham as Sheila gave a powerhouse of a performance, heart-wrenching as the mother and wife struggling to keep her family together. Greg Oliver Bodine and Kristen Vaughan as married amateur actor couple Freddie and Pam played off one another well and Ms. Vaughan especially brought a comedic touch to the heaviness of the play. Emily Jon Mitchell gives a charming performance as the neglected grandmother; the whole stage lit up when she entered. Becky Byers gives a knockout of a performance as Joe. Her interpretation of a girl living with Cerebral Palsy is nothing short of brilliant; breathtaking, tragic, she evokes the innocence and helplessness of a child living with a disease she cannot control. Difficult to watch her body struggle, even more difficult to watch her be ignored, her subtle performance showed the humanity in Joe." - Gina Femia, New York Theatre Review
"Wow. This production takes place on a groovy-colored set (designed by Jack and Rebecca Cunningham) that is aware of its own flatness... The amazing actors move as though aware they're putting on a show. Innocent songs like "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" recall an era (is it really over?) of classism and discrimination.
I saw this play on Broadway several years ago, but it is very different to be sitting in an intimate theater with the monologues directed unrelentingly at you. It is a good thing, the opposite of obscuring the issue. As a parent, it puts me up against my worst nightmare. As a citizen, it asks me if I think life is worth living.
Director Peter Zinn has done a remarkable job of making each character sympathetic at some point, while keeping the non-stop civilized banter going... Clearly, Matthew Trumbull and Heather Cunningham have much in the way of acting chops. Becky Byers makes a huge statement for humanity without speaking. Greg Bodine charmingly shows how one can be polished and right at the expense of others. Kristen Vaughan has the most emotional portrayal, with her undisguised horror of the imperfect child. Emily Jon Mitchell balances everyone out with her cool, needy mothering." - Ed Mailn, NYTheatre.com (Warning - this review contains spoilers!)