Director Mark A. Rhea has assembled a group of actors who are able to bring to the stage both nuances and grand moments of theatrical showmanship. Assisted by the brilliant set design of Stefan Gibson, which fully utilizes the tight Church Street Theatre space, Rhea takes the world playwright Tracy Letts created on the page and puts the audience right up against the dirty walls and covered windows of the Weston’s nearly dilapidated home.
Tough and forceful, even while dealing with her own troubled marriage and teen-aged daughter, oldest sister Barbara comes home to take charge. Barbara is the alpha-female of her sisters, and is a role Susan Marie Rhea was born to play. Ms. Rhea is blessed with a sharp focus, husky voice and riveting stage presence that transfers into a strong central performance.
Brought to life with every fiber of her actor’s instrument, Rena Cherry Brown is a Violet Weston for the ages. Supple, brittle, omniscient, precious, brutal and demur – Rena’s skin is Violet’s skin. I do not throw out terms like “tour-de-force” with every review, but Rena Cherry Brown’s performance as Violet Weston in The Keegan Theatre’s production of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY deserves it.
The other members of Mark A. Rhea’s cast contribute to the success of the production. Kerry Waters Lucas, as Violet’s sister Mattie Fae, Kevin Adams, as Mattie Fae’s husband Charlie, and Michael Innocenti, as Little Charlie each find moments to shine throughout their scenes. As Barbara’s philandering husband, Bill, Colin Smith has subtlety and as pot-headed daughter Jean, Lyndsay Rini strikes a balance between rebellion and innocence.