Review: The House That Jack Built at IRT 

***1/2
click to enlarge Patricia Hodges in the 'The House That Jack Built.' - ZACH ROSING
  • Patricia Hodges in the 'The House That Jack Built.'
  • Zach Rosing

In a new show by IRT playwright-in-residence James Still, a family of five struggles to move on more than a decade after the death of a loved one. Five talented actors expertly set the all-too-familiar atmosphere of a holiday reunion, drawing us into their world as they dance around conflicting opinions about religion, politics and the best way to mix a drink. The ensemble so thoroughly connects with each other via clever dialogue and knowing looks that our attentions are held rapt, even as the script withholds information that might define their relationships for longer than needed.

Yet as the play unfolds its deep secrets, the kind that every family struggles not to bring up during the holidays, one comes to wonder if The House That Jack Built wants to be a topical play about this American life, or a character-driven piece depicting unraveling relationships. Both options are there, but neither is realized fully. Regardless, the play got me thinking - about American paranoia, about my family and our changing traditions, about the way I intend to approach the looming season of giving thanks. And that's all I ever really want from a new piece of theatre. Through Nov. 25 at Indiana Repertory Theatre

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