Regional Reviews: Cleveland & Akron
Also see David's review of And Then There Were None
More questions than the playwright can wrestle are raised in the two-hour one-act play. Luna Gale is the name of a baby. Gilman has her characters deal with who should get custody of the child. The promotional material suggests the parents have "issues." Sure, they've zoned out on drugs, the illegal kind. The mother, Karlie (Megan King), and the father, Peter (Jeremiah Clapp), spend what little money they have on drugs. They admittedly spend little time with their baby.
Cindy (Angela Pierce) is Karlie's mother and Luna Gale's grandmother. She takes temporary custody of the child in her clean house. Karlie thinks her mother is super religious and is influenced at every corner by Pastor Jay (Donald Carrier). Caroline (Lee Roy Rogers), the social worker who is exhausted after too many years of struggling to find help for her clients, loses her focus and attempts to discover if Karlie has been abused by her father. This plot movement takes the script another step away from care for Luna Gale.
I'm more comfortable with a script when one character is likeable and I can cheer for that character. As this story unfolded, I was more and more thankful I was not Luna Gale.
The play offers a mixed night in the theater. The cast is excellent, but they're swimming upstream against a poor script, which means the best they can do is a mediocre production. The script reminds me of the famous Sam Goldwyn quotation: "If you want to send a message, use Western Union."
Luna Gale, through March 20, 2016, at Cleveland Play House, Allen Theatre. For tickets and information, call 216-442-6000 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com.
Playwright: Rebecca Gilman