“A charming but spooky bed and breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania hosts two young people struggling to hold their relationship together in a new play by Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur Genius Annie Baker. On at Undermain Theatre through Dec. 10, John is set during the Thanksgiving holiday and positions its characters to contend with the mystical on top of everything else.
Audiences are welcomed into a run-of-the-mill tragic bed and breakfast, as the character Elias would say. Thousands of knick-knacks watch you from the walls and tables, but opera music and floral wallpaper from your grandma’s guest room warm it up just enough to stay in the physical present. And the characters never leave this one location, the intersection of private and public, the permanent and the temporary; that space between a home and a hotel that makes B&Bs so intriguing.”
“. . . The quieter, more subtle eccentricities of Elly Lindsay’s inn mother Mertis are never overshadowed by Rhonda Boutté’s half-kooky, half-enlightened blind friend Genevieve. As for the couple, an off-kilter chemistry is key. Elias (Scott Zenreich) shuts down Jenny’s (Olivia de Guzman) playfulness as she tries to make their relationship work. He comes off as a lousy boyfriend but not a monster. The result is a believably unbalanced relationship; Elias’ rudeness and anger are overt. The very good reasons why Elias is so horribly unpleasant do nothing to make us like him more. Although, he makes us laugh.”