Keegan Theatre’s fine production of the 90 minute Boy [is] directed with skill and compassion by Susan Marie Rhea.
John Jones leads Rhea’s excellent cast in a noteworthy professional debut. Jones must play Adam Turner as both a child and as a young adult; and the range of emotions called for is also extensive. Jones fearlessly moves through Turner’s dreadful life experiences and tender, lovely ones as well, making outstanding choices along the way. The work makes an audience feel what Turner endures and survives.
Mike Kozemchak and Karen Novack as Adam Turner’s parents and Vishwas as Adam’s doctor are each at their best in scenes with Jones. Kozemchak plays Doug Turner’s unexpected kindness towards his child with surprising delicacy in Ziegler’s rendition of one of those “talks” parents often have with their young. Novack, who portrays Trudy Turner as a nervous woman concerned with surfaces during the 1970s, fiercely renders Trudy’s evolution toward sincerity and inner clarity in the 1980s. Vishwas gives Dr. Barnes an endearing twinkle as he introduces Adam to British poets which humanizes an often manipulative character.
Lida Maria Benson plays Jenny Lafferty, Adam Turner’s friend. One of the production’s finest moments occurs when Benson’s Jenny simply sits on the floor next to Adam, the better to listen. Whether goofily, flirtingly drunk at a Halloween party, sweetly and sensitively getting to know Adam Turner, or urgently pressing Adam for clearer communication, Benson nails Jenny, who actually is the only character in the play already wise and generous enough not to require being “carefully taught.”