The moment you walk into the Winspear for the touring production of Broadway’s hit dramedy, August: Osage County, the remarkable space is overshadowed by the life-size, three-story dollhouse set. Immediately it’s clear that this is going to be a family drama on many levels (literally and figuratively).
Starring Estelle Parsons, best known to most as the late-blooming lesbian grandmother on Roseanne, the loooooooong Oklahoma-set play is surprisingly deft at switching between high drama and hysterical comedy. Clocking in at three hours and 15 minutes (not including two ten-minute intermissions), you may want to borrow your pregnant sister’s donut pillow to keep from getting numb butt.
Much of the gee-Southerners-are-trashy comedy may be completely matter-of-fact to those of us with any bit of white trash scattered about below our family tree, but we’re sure that it played like science fiction in New York.
But who cares. We all know that there’s extra crazy in any family raised below the Mason Dixon. Basically, if you like the zany characters and situations of Sordid Lives, you’ll love August almost equally as much. It’s just as trashy, but far less gay.
Parsons is fantastic as the drug-addict matriarch of the Weston clan, but it’s Shannon Cochran as her daughter Barbara who steals the show and our hearts. She’s sassy, sarcastic and, in all ways, somebody gays naturally want as a best friend.
Overall, the entire ensemble is so remarkably strong that the few over-the-top subplots that muddy the story (like an unnecessary few moments of pedophilia) are mostly forgivable.
In the end, our crazy families look tame in comparison and that’s all that matters to us. Being less insane than the Joneses. (It’s good to have aspirations.)
When the final light dims on stage, you’ll want to jump up for an ovation, not just because of the great performances, but again, because this sucker’s over three hours long. Just practice those Kegel exercises and at least make the most of your time in the theatre.
Tickets: $45 – $150
Runs through January 24
Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora Street, Dallas
Also Playing This Weekend
Elsewhere in Dallas Theatre this weekend, make sure to check out our other top picks: Broadway Our Way (Uptown Players’ first show in the Kalita Humphreys Theater) and Hello Human Female at Teatro Dallas. Both are super-gay and super-funny.