Perhaps Lanford Wilson was ahead of his time. As New York finally ratifies gay marriage, it’s interesting to see the longstanding gay love affair in “Fifth of July” is the piece’s healthiest relationship.
It’s 1977 and Vietnam vet Ken (Stephen Dunn) struggles with his wounds in his small hometown with lover Jed (Billy Fenderson) and the motley crew home for the holiday: acidic sister June (Whitney Hayes), boheme-in-the-making daughter Shirley (Glynis Gilio) and his college buddies, wheeler-dealer John (Josh Atkins) and uber-emotional Gwen (Erin Myers). The characters wrestle with the future and each other.
Edward Morgan’s direction keeps the verbal jousting lively. Dunn’s excellent at masking his quick-with-a-quip character’s pain; Gilio’s melodrama is adolescent fun. Roy Gonzalez’ stoner musician is slow and sweet; his scenes with spacey Aunt Sally (Joanna Riopelle) are worth admission. What an entertaining way to remember battles that got us where we are. (Lisa Buscani)
Infamous Commonwealth Theatre at the Raven Theatre, 6157 North Clark, (773)516-4528. Through July 10.