N. Richard Nash’s 1954 story is a bit dusty, like the drought-stricken ranch where it’s set. But Boho’s gentle approach manages to breathe life into a classic.
The Curry family is struggling. Their cattle are dying of thirst and sister Lizzie (Anna Hammonds) pines for love. Brother Jim (Nate Santana) chafes in big brother Noah’s (Daniel Gilbert) shadow; father HC (Robert Frankel) tries to keep the peace. Enter Starbuck (Matthew Keffer), a dreaming schemer who promises to bring relief.
Hammonds captures Lizzie’s awkwardness and frustration; the piece’s attitudes toward marriage and women’s roles are creaky but Hammonds displays genuine pain as she feels the weight of her limitations. Keffer lacks Starbuck’s easy charm but creates strong chemistry with Lizzie. Stephen M. Genovese’s direction manages to find the script’s humor and quiet sadness; he preserves the timeless themes and proves the show still has something to say to today’s audiences. (Lisa Buscani)
Boho Theatre Ensemble at Theater Wit, 1229 West Belmont, (773)975-8150. Through May 6.