The Bradbury play I saw in previews has officially opened and the reviews are in.
The message is clear and simple. A couple married for over 40 years cannot bear to think of the loneliness that will ensue after a partner’s death. One Christmas, they decide on most unusual but loving gifts. Each, without the other’s knowledge, commissions the village Marionette maker to fashion a youthful Robotic machine that will serve the function of a husband/wife. Alas, the overly energetic and over-zealous young do not make a perfect match for the old, and when they meet they quickly realize the disastrous consequences that will come of living together. The older couple accept their folly and out of complete love for one another resolve to make the most of the time that remains to them both.
Variety found the genuine marionettes to be one of the best things in the play, as did I:
There’s visual pleasure aplenty on the Fremont’s crackerbox stage but nothing quite so touching as real, tiny marionettes representing Mr. and Mrs. in youth and old age, achieving the same heart-tugs as a similar sequence in Pixar’s “Up” in affirming the joy of finally accepting life’s terms.
In Jackie Houchin’s review for California Chronicle she describes the crisis that brings on the end of the play – which I found a little rough for my tastes:
While Mr. Wycherly struggles to “turn off” his brainy and robust mechanical lady (Jessie McLean), Mrs. Wycherly is being ravished and perhaps injured by her “stallion buck” (Steve Josephson). Mr. Wycherly longs for “the plain and gentle, the soft and sentimental,” while Mrs. Wycherly yearns for the “comfortable and real,” not the “sizzling ideal.”
As they finally escape their younger selves and fall into each other’s arms, they understand that the “mellow flavor” of their elder love is like “vintage wine” to be savored to the last drop.
And at L.A. Splash Serita Stevens concludes:
This is indeed a show worthy of the creative majesty of Ray Bradbury and short as it is, shines on it’s own.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the links.]