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Marvin’s Room – Review
Marvin’s Room makes its highly awaited Broadway premiere this year. The show, written by Scott McPherson and directed by Anne Kauffman, focuses on family and the struggle to connect with people who seem fundamentally different. Whilst it isn’t the first Broadway drama to cast an eye on familial relationship, Marvin’s Room connects an interesting storyline with strong production values. The story is sure to tug on the audience’s heartstrings and evoke strong emotions from viewers who have felt at odds with their family members in the past.
The production’s focal point is a pair of estranged adult sisters, Bessie and Lee. Bessie is busy taking care of the sisters’ ageing father and their soap opera-obsessed aunt. Meanwhile, Lee is a single mother struggling to bring up her teenage sons alone. The sisters finally reunite after an eighteen year separation when Bessie is tragically diagnosed with leukemia. The touching play sees Bessie attempting to connect with Hank, Lee’s troubled adolescent son, and make him feel at home, while Lee brings her good intentions to the reunion. While the sisters have always been at odds, Marvin’s Room sees them attempting to bond and make amends before it’s too late.
Marvin’s Room may seem like an endlessly depressing soap opera style drama, but it brings surprising light and absurd comedy to the stage. Like many successful Broadway productions, humor is found in the darkest subject matter in Marvin’s Room. The stark contrast between Bessie’s endlessly giving nature and the more selfish attitudes of her sister and nephews are fascinating to watch. Their interactions are tinged with pain and the underlying knowledge that their time to reconcile is running out. Marvin’s Room is boundlessly effective as an insightful, character-driven narrative on love and the fear of loss.
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