Powerful, passionate, and an emotional rollercoaster, “Beggars in the House of Plenty” features outstanding acting and production work that spotlights the will to thrive and succeed in chaos.
The Fitzgerald family, dysfunctional as all get out, haunts Johnny’s (Chris Paine Gilbert) days and dreams, making home life a complete nightmare. For better or worse, his Irish Catholic parents (Jack Conley, Francesca Casale) inject drama and destruction into every situation. Will Johnny escape this tortured existence sane and intact?
Director Larry Moss carefully builds dark humor, misfortune, and emotional devastation into a searing vision of hell, artfully abetted by Stephen Gifford’s stark set design and Leigh Allen’s bold lighting. Bruno Louchouarn injects suspense and terror with imaginative musical montages and sound design.
The excellent cast vividly defines the damaged family. David Gail wonderfully captures the wounded vulnerability in the swaggering, overconfident older son Joey. Gilbert reveals a fighting spirit and strong survival instinct in the savvy Johnny. Intense, disciplined Conley stands out as the frightening, physical fiend of a father.
Somehow playwright John Patrick Shanley turns hellish autobiographical situations into poetic moments of humor and searing insight. This first rate production scores on all counts.
John S. Flynn presents “Beggars in the House of Plenty” Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 3 PM through March 29 at 5041 W. Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles. Tickets cost $25, $18 for seniors and students with IDs. Call (800) 838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com for reservations or information.