Most people I know don’t get to the theater often, so I figured the best way for me to talk about Equally Divided at the Merrimack Repertory Theater would be to compare it to what you do more often.
Watching Equally Divided is like watching a great BBC show. There are British accents, there’s a rather bumbling lawyer prone to rambling, there’s a pair of quarreling sisters who couldn’t be more different, there are the types you know put into the kind of uncomfortable situations that make for great drama and comedy.
So why go to MRT instead of staying at home and watching Downton Abbey on your DVR? Believe me, I know the value of a relaxed evening on the couch. But I also know the value of getting out of your house for a little while, maybe even–dare I say it–putting on some nice clothes and going out for a real dinner, too. The MRT has a small theater, all the seats are fantastic, and it’s all been redone so the chairs are comfy. They have beer, wine, coffee, tea and soda available before the show and during intermission and if you normally buy a drink at your local multiplex you’ll be pleasantly surprised by their reasonable prices. With seats starting at $15, you may actually find you’ll have a cheaper evening out at the MRT than going to a movie. And you won’t have annoying teenagers texting and shouting either.
As for the play, Equally Divided is a great mix of drama and laughs. Sisters Edith (Jill Tanner) and Renata (Felicity Lafortune) have just lost their mother. Edith spent years devoting herself to her mother’s care while Renata stayed away and kept busy with a string of failed marriages. It’s time to divvy up the assets and years of resentment are bubbling to the surface. Thrown into the mix is their mother’s stodgy lawyer and the antique dealer who holds the answers to whether their mother’s piles of junk are worth anything or not. Playwright Ronald Harwood has plenty of credits to his name, including movies like The Pianist, Australia and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. His dialogue is smart and snappy. And the cast is really excellent, all filling their roles perfectly. Can I also add that I enjoyed the costumes a lot. They told you exactly what you needed to know about the characters and I really coveted Renata’s kimono.
Shows continue through March 8th and tickets are running low so I’d get moving now.
Thanks to MRT for inviting me to attend and review Equally Divided.