Sacramento, CA 95814
What do our families owe us? What do we owe them? Those are the basic questions addressed in Leo McElroy’s new play. Homecoming covers a lot of ground, with enough real-life social issues to carry a Lifetime movie.Joshua, put up for adoption at two and finally adopted at six, has just received a letter from his birth mother, who wants to meet him. His life isn’t going well—to call him a drunk wouldn’t be over the line; neither would a descriptor like “belligerent.” He agrees to meet with her just to tell her off. Then things take a twist.
Homecoming is one of the plays to come out of this year’s Thistle Dew Playwright’s Workshop, which meets on Monday evenings at the theater. Ultimately, McElroy examines whether it is truly better to give than to receive—at least where family is concerned.
As Joshua, Peter Playdon carries a good portion of the play on his back. He does well with anger, but his angst could be a bit sharper. What makes it work, though, is his nice touch of the smart-ass. His Joshua is both most honest and most likeable when he’s mouthing off.
A supporting turn by Paula Campanella as the blowsy, thoughtless Voxanne is both disturbingly realistic and outrageously funny, while Julie Greene’s Drella is by far the most likeable character of all. She’s bluntly honest and unwilling to waste time on bullshit, as well she ought to be.
But the real star of this play is the play—and it’s worth an evening even if Thistle Dew didn’t throw in an intermission dessert bar with the ticket. Homecoming and Three Messiahs Walk Into A Bar, Thistle Dew’s last offering from their playwright’s workshop, are more than enough reason to believe in locally written theater. And there’s more to come. Not that we’re owed it, but it’s always a nice surprise to find such talent in the family.