Under the fluid direction of David Fofi, this adaptation (by Daniel Buckroyd) of Michael Morpurgo's sequel to his children's novel War Horse gracefully achieves its simple ambitions. Sometime around the 1970s, a young man (Simon Lees) stops over at the Devon farm belonging to his grandfather (Lawrence Pressman) while on his way to college at an Australian university. The boy has grown up loving the old man as much as he loves the land, and before long the two are revisiting family history — including an update on the ultimate fate of that famous horse — in what essentially becomes a storytelling duet. A gentle and folksy play about fathers, sons and grandsons, the short script doesn't pack in high drama or aim for deep insights, content with uncomplicated filial bonds, quietly documenting an older way of life in the moments that it fades away. Joel Daavid's tender lighting design artfully guides Aaron Glazer's handsome set through time and place. Lees and Pressman, a veteran character actor who brings a seasoned shading to the role, embody the play's warmth without tipping too far into sentimentality. Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through Aug. 26. (800) 838-3006, brownpapertickets.com/event/254780.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: July 28. Continues through Aug. 26, 2012