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A Good Smoke 

Thursday, Mar 6 2008
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Writer-director Don Cummings adeptly captures the chaos enveloping a collapsing family in his dark, one-act comedy. Eldest son Dave (Henry Gummer) has returned to his family's home in the hopes of straightening out the latest mess. Coinciding with the birth of her first grandchild, Mom (Barbara Gruen) goes off her meds and lands in a psychiatric ward. She’s now back at home, but Dave’s attempts to get her to rehab are thwarted by his younger brother, Joe (Blake Anthony), who’s become Mom’s enabler. Mom may — or may not — have pancreatitis, or possibly fibromyalgia; what she does have is an endless supply of prescription pain pills which Joe hides, doling them out one by one when she begs. Dad (Dennis Delsing) copes by drinking himself into a stupor. Despite pleas from both sons, Mom refuses to go to the hospital to see her daughter, Susan (Madelynn Fattibene) and the baby, nor will she visit her Susan and granddaughter at home. Cummings has a gift for the pointed barb, and some of the dialogue is hilarious, despite the situation's gravity. His direction is as fast-paced as the dialogue, and Gruen delivers a tremendous performance as a deceptive, manipulative drug addict. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Feb. 22. Continues through March 29, 2008

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