Review: ‘4000 Miles’ opens Shakespeare & Company’s 40th Anniversary Season
Opening their 40th Anniversary Season, Shakespeare & Company presents Amy Herzog’s award-winning dramatic comedy ‘4000 Miles’. Exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally, Leo rolls his bike into his grandmothers’ New York apartment early one morning, both shocking and confusing her. His grueling and traumatizing experience on his 4,000 mile bike trip across the country has led him to her door hoping for sanctuary. They struggle to understand one another, often times irritating and baffling each other; after a while they learn to communicate and appreciate one another in such a way that it helps them not only to heal, but to grow.
Herzog’s sharp and witty writing realistically demonstrates a generational divide, one we all will find ourselves in at some point, and how it can make communicating and empathizing difficult and seemingly impossible. While this play will resonate with baby boomers and millennials alike, at its’ core is something audience members of any age and background can understand and appreciate, and that is the complexity of making real human connections and experiencing honest and truthful dialog.
Directed by Nicole Ricciardi, the four-person cast, led by Annette Miller and Gregory Boover with Emma Geer and Zoë Laiz, immediately grasped the audience’s attention and kept them engrossed for the entirety of the production. The humorous, often bantering, conversations between Vera (Annette Miller) and Leo (Gregory Boover) were realistic and reflected real-life struggles and emotions that the audience, based on their reactions, clearly related to. The genuine performances by Miller and Boover paired with impeccable comedic timing and chemistry made their relationship as grandmother and grandson entirely believable. They were perfectly cast and I couldn’t help but smile during many of their scenes as they quibbled back and forth.
Delightful as Vera, Annette Miller’s characterization embodies both the lovable and the exasperating traits of an aging grandmother who isn’t so fond getting older. Miller ideally portrayed the confusion that comes with old age, the wittiness of a young at heart mind, the concern and sympathy a grandmother has for her grandchildren and the feistiness of a strong-willed woman. Gregory Boover gives a powerful and emotionally dynamic portrayal of a heartbroken and lost young man struggling to deal with tragedy. As Leo, he delivers an intense and heart wrenching performance with characterizations and quirks that were meticulously well placed and often subtly executed. Their masterful performances are not to be missed!
The production features a detailed set design by John McDermott, lighting design by James W. Bilnoski, costume design by Stella Schwartz, and sound design by Amy Altadonna. This play is an amusing and heartening look at real life and the relationships that guide us to be who we are. According to audience members, this play will make you laugh, make you cry and make you think and reflect on your own life. ‘4000 Miles’ perfectly demonstrates the high quality, professional performances audiences have come to expect and enjoy from Shakespeare & Company and was a fantastic opening to their 40th season. ©
‘4000 Miles’ plays through July 16th in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre on the Shakespeare & Company campus located at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox, Massachusetts. Tickets and more information about this play as well as Shakespeare & Company’s full season can be found at www.shakespeare.org. Photo Credit: Gregory Boover and Annette Miller in 4000 Miles. Photo by Christopher Duggan.
Angelica has an A.S. in Theatre, earned a specialty degree in Shakespeare from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a minor in Psychology from SNHU. In addition to writing, she stays busy teaching dance and choreographing for a local studio.
For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: http://intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com/