Aston Rep’s “The Lyons” Review – Cynics’ Banquet

(left to right) Scott Olson, Susan Fay and Amy Kasper in AstonRep Theatre’s Chicago premiere of THE LYONS by Nicky Silver, directed by Derek Bertelsen

 

For some of us who have seen or experienced the wiser course of leaving a dysfunctional family dynamic, behind we might have thought we’d already erased romanticized notions of family from our mindset. 

 

(left to right) Scott Olson and Susan Fay in AstonRep Theatre’s Chicago premiere of THE LYONS by Nicky Silver, directed by Derek Bertelsen

 

The playwright of “The Lyons”, Nicky Silver, seems to shout at us “Think Again!” as he paints a family so cruel to each other that you will be left gasping for air- that is, when you are not laughing.

 

(left to right) Scott Olson, Matthew Harris, Susan Fay and Aja Wiltshire in AstonRep Theatre’s Chicago premiere of THE LYONS by Nicky Silver, directed by Derek Bertelsen

 

Forget about deathbed reconciliation moments.  In this world, Rita Lyons (Susan Fay) seems to delight in making her dying husband Ben (Scott Olson) aware of how she will re-decorate the living room once he is gone against his wishes.   When their adult children, Curtis (Matthew Harris) and Lisa (Aja Wiltshire) arrive in the hospital to find their father dying they are astounded that their parents had not told them of his illness before.  Then again, as Curtis points out, this may have been one of the biggest deviations from their narcissistic and childish ways.   

 

(left to right) Scott Olson, Susan Fay, Aja Wiltshire and Matthew Harris in AstonRep Theatre’s Chicago premiere of THE LYONS by Nicky Silver, directed by Derek Bertelsen

 

In this script, Susan Fay seems to get more than her share of the best lines and she makes the most of them. 

 

(left to right) Scott Olson, Aja Wiltshire and Susan Fay in AstonRep Theatre’s Chicago premiere of THE LYONS by Nicky Silver, directed by Derek Bertelsen

 

(left to right) Matthew Harris and Susan Fay in AstonRep Theatre’s Chicago premiere of THE LYONS by Nicky Silver, directed by Derek Bertelsen

 

That said, they all deliver as The Lyons family, as does the hospital nurse (Amy Kasper) and a realtor showing the son an apartment (Drew Wieland).

 

(left to right) Drew Wieland and Matthew Harris in AstonRep Theatre’s Chicago premiere of THE LYONS by Nicky Silver, directed by Derek Bertelsen

 

A great script and a great cast, but a warning is needed.  If you are not willing to leave your inner Pollyanna at the door it’s best to steer clear of “The Lyons”.    And if you think you have no such Pollyanna know that you’ll have to re-examine that when you live in the family that Silver’s pen has created.

 

Now through September 27.

 

Performed at the Raven Theater space, 6157 North Clark, Chicago.

 

Tickets and information are available at the Aston Rep website or by calling (773) 828-9129.

 

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Photos:  Emily Schwartz

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