ALL THE ROADS HOME is an interesting, well-acted play telling the coming of age stories of three generations of women. From the moment the gorgeous-voiced Libby Winters starts to sing, one senses this isn’t going to be a typical play. But for me, it was the energy of Rebecca S’Manga Frank as precocious teenager, “Madeleine” emerged is when I knew I was watching something special.
Frank breaks down the fourth wall with gusto, drawing us into the first chapter of this three-act story with her eyes and sense of humor. We meet her sister, “Cathy,” played by Tina Chilip and her brother-in-law, “Michael,” (Tramell Tillman) who then transform into her daughter “Max” and Max’s friend, “Phoenix.” Oh, and don’t overlook Winters as “Dolly Parton.” And then as granddaughter and traveling folk artist, “Nix.”
It sounds confusing; it’s actually brilliant. The storytelling in Jen Silverman’s script is creative and the acting by this ensemble cast is top-notch. I enjoyed the play a lot and while the third chapter probably could use some fine-tuning (and the elimination of one misguided song), one has to admire the interweaving of themes, characters, music, and action throughout this world premiere. Director Lee Sunday Evans keeps the pace moving, utilizing an open stage-canvas to let the characters and the story be the focus.
ALL THE ROADS HOME gives me great hope for the future of the American theatre. The Playhouse in the Park’s commitment to new works (quiet, no-horn-tooting-required colorblind casting) gives me tremendous hope for the future of theatre in Cincinnati. I hope it does as well as it deserves.
ALL THE ROADS HOME runs through April 23 in the Thompson Shelterhouse at the Playhouse in the Park. Click here for tickets and more information.