Over the River and Through the Woods | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Over the River and Through the Woods

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Over the River and Through the Woods, Attic Playhouse. Joe DiPietro's comedy is so generic it should be preserved in a time capsule--a 1962 time capsule, that is, though the play opened off-Broadway in 1998. This story of a 29-year-old bachelor from Hoboken whose four grandparents oppose his relocation to Seattle hits all the buttons, right down to the living room sing-along of "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" and the Big Confrontation, with the would-be prodigal protesting "I'm an adult! I can take care of myself!"

But though we might deride the obvious, we can't really argue with it. This nostalgic portrait of intergenerational tensions in an Italian family (resembling DiPietro's), like his much produced I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, reaffirms the writer's knack for presenting simple truths as freshly minted revelations--a talent no less commendable for being commercially lucrative.

There's also little to argue with in the sturdy cast assembled by Donna Lubow for this Attic Playhouse production. From the first act, liberally sprinkled with one-liners, to the second, steeped in tearful introspection, the players infuse each formulaic moment with warmth and wisdom. The bedrock of the show is what one character designates "the three fs: family, faith, and food"--a combination perfectly suited to a theater located above a restaurant.

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