A lot of money was spent renovating the space in which Glencoe-based Writers’ Theatre now stages the majority of its productions. But I still prefer the original (and tiny) back-of-the-bookshop location just down the street, and thankfully the theater company continues to stage one show a season in this intimate little environment. For some reason the dearth of space prompts the most ingenious of set designs, and Jack Magaw’s kitchen/sitting room combo for “The Subject Was Roses” is no exception. It’s a perfectly claustrophobic setting for a story about a young World War II vet retuning after the war to his parents’ home in the Bronx. Tensions have been escalating between mom (Penny Slusher) and dad (Craig Spidle) for years, and when their good-natured, bright-eyed son Timmy (Steve Haggard) comes back, things finally come to a head. The 1964 play by Frank Gilroy won a Pulitzer, but don’t let that fool you. Like so many other quietly fraught domestic dramas from the same period (“I Never Sang for My Father”), the play seems to appeal far more to actors than audiences; it’s not the kind of play that can withstand a so-so production. Thankfully, this revival, directed with a sure and nuanced hand by Shade Murray, contains some very fine, up-close-and-personal acting from the three-member ensemble. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.