Review: Visitors at Big Idea Theatre
In a remote English farmhouse, a husband and his wife sit side-by-side, trading an easy banter and sweet wit honed over 40 years of marriage. But as the conversations continue over the course of days, it becomes evident that the wife’s mind is slowly slip-sliding away while her husband desperately tries to hold onto their lives and his love.
Visitors by playwright Barney Norris is a heartaching and heartwarming story of how a family tries to cope with dawning dementia and all the decisions that swirl around the tragic disease. Through the sharp humor and tragic truths of the script and the unflinching performances by Big Idea Theatre’s four-person cast, this production is as uplifting as it is sentimental and softly sad.
The story revolves around farmer Arthur and his wife Edie, but it also involves a young caretaker, Kate, hired by son Stephen who lives too far away for day-to-day care of his parents.
Adrienne Sher and Michael O’Sullivan are perfectly in sync as the two main characters, each giving strong individual performances, as well as synchronized interplays as long-wedded partners.
Kaley Saari brings a spunky vitality as the young caretaker Kate, and Brent Randolf carefully balances the conflicting emotions of son Stephen. Directors Russell Dow and Liz Frederick orchestrate not only the right tone throughout, they also provide an added sweetness by making the scene changes a natural part of the story.