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Theater Review: A Beautiful, Heartfelt Ending For Town Players Season

Published: November 16, 2017

Elizabeth Young

Wrapping up their season with Horton Foote’s elegant and tender The Trip to Bountiful, The Town Players of Newtown are finishing on a lovely note. Directed with sensitivity and a light touch by Brian DeToma, this production tugs at the heartstrings as the family dynamic unfolds.

The production continues weekends until December 2.

Carrie Watts (played by Deborah Carlson) is counting her breaths as she wiles away her remaining days holed up in a tiny Houston apartment far from her beloved hometown, Bountiful. The city is not her kind of place; the apartment is confining, the noise constant and the air stifling.

Her son Ludie Watts (Christopher Bird) is beloved and yet so very sad. His shrill and callous wife, Jessie Mae Watts (Rachel Ames), is self-indulgent and demanding as she feigns to care for the well-being of her troublesome mother-in-law.

Carrie plots her escape. Just one more breath of the air in Bountiful is what she craves. She is unafraid as she heads home after many long years.

She meets a charming young woman on the bus ride. Thelma (Amanda Brenner) is also headed back home. The two share memories and sandwiches along the way.

Ticket agents at the bus depots (Mark Rubino and Roberto Perez) are sympathetic and yet concerned for this wandering older woman. A kindly sheriff (Tom Torpey) takes Carrie under his sheltering wing.

All Carrie wants is to see old, familiar friends, to dig her hands into the dirt, and to smell the salt air. With every fiber of her being, she wants to go home.

Led by a beautiful performance of grace and subtlety from Deborah Carlson, the entire cast is elevated. Each member delivers a performance of heartbreaking truth. Christopher Bird gives Ludie an aura of devotion and pure goodness that is moving. Rachel Ames, as his determined little lady, is a bundle of energy and consistent in her portrayal.

Playing fellow traveler Thelma, Amanda Brenner is just perfect. Her Thelma is sweet, considerate, and concerned.

Mark Rubino, Roberto Perez, and Tom Torpey all fulfill the demands of their roles well.

The Trip to Bountiful is a journey well worth taking. The gorgeous performances tug at emotions, making a trip home fulfilling and heartwarming. Don’t miss the bus.

Performances continue Friday and Saturday evenings at 8, and Sundays at 2, through December 2. A special Thursday evening performance, on November 30, is also planned.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $10 for ages 10 and under, and can be reserved by calling 203-270-9144 or visiting newtownplayers.org.

Town Players perform at The Little Theatre, 18 Orchard Hill Road.

 

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