Have you ever had to sit next to an obnoxiously talkative person on a plane or at the doctor’s office? If so, you understand the basic situation of Joe Calarco’s play Walter Cronkite Is Dead, part of Aurora Theatre’s Harvel Lab Series.
This two-person comedy takes the audience on a hilarious and touching romp through two women’s lives. They are polar opposites. Margaret (Lane Carlock) is a progressive woman, who has named her children after the Kennedys, and Patty (LaLa Cochran) is a no nonsense and more conservative mother from the south. The two have differing, and at times warring, points of view, but find common ground as they discuss their fears, faults, triumphs and children while a storm causes a ground stop at the airport.
Both Lane Carlock as Margaret and LaLa Cochran as Patty are wonderful under the smart direction of Brian Clowdus. Margaret’s cold demeanor provides the right juxtaposition to Patty’s (who has “never been good with silence”) loquaciousness. Once the two begin to play off each other, the comedy ensues.
Carlock’s restrained demeanor and subtle characterizations add to a layered and strong performance. Watching her open up to Patty is enthralling, and her antics as she tells of her fear of flying are hilarious. Similarly, Cochran mesmerizes with her performance as a mother who laments the fact that her daughter doesn’t want to travel with her. Her comedic timing is unparalleled and the subtle idiosyncrasies she brings to Patty are brilliant.
A well-produced, thoughtful and entertaining play, Walter Cronkite Is Dead plays through October 6, 2013 at Aurora Theatre. For tickets and more information, please see our Now Onstage listing or the theater’s website. The show’s runtime is 90 minutes without an intermission.
– A. Wesley