The Trip to Bountiful | Raven Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Trip to Bountiful Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 17 2013

If Horton Foote's 1953 script were a timepiece, it'd be a railroad pocket watch: a plain, well-crafted instrument, beloved mainly for the fact that it works so damn well, even despite rough handling. Quietly, without moral or literary flourishes, it tells the tale of Carrie Watts, an elderly woman living in a cramped Houston apartment with her son Ludie and his wife, Jessie Mae. Nobody's happy about the arrangement. Ludie tries to keep a pleasant face on things, but Jessie Mae expresses her dismay with officious scolding, while Carrie responds with sullen politesse and a secret plan to escape back to Bountiful, the gulf-coast farming community where she was born. The action of the play covers Carrie's latest effort to make good on her plan. Director Joann Montemurro puts some stress on Foote's mechanism with crude choices, such as letting Eleanor Katz turn Jessie Mae into a complete harridan for the sake of cheap laughs. But the show ticks valiantly on, even finding some charm in performances by Millicent Hurley Spencer as Carrie and Jen Short as Thelma, a young woman Carrie befriends on the trip to Bountiful. —Tony Adler

Price: $36