It was such a joy to see one of Sam Shepard’s most renowned comedies, True West, performed brilliantly on-screen and before a live audience at the Tricycle Theatre in London but from the comfort of my own home. At first glance, this performance space looks like a mobile home in the boondocks, yet watching it transports you into the American dream that has a twisted love story with a trashy Western tale.

'A mind-blowing scenic design'

The contemporary set, designed by Max Jones, has created a 1980s home with completely realistic furnishings that you wouldn’t expect to see such eye-striking details in a play.

The Norwich Dakota stone wall is simulated in panels to combine a striking look of real stone with the versatile reliability of polyurethane. Nevertheless, the baskets of plants that hang from the ceiling and the cordless phone that's mounted on the wall make this authentic. Even the interior design of the kitchen within a small space is intricate and gets used partially throughout the performance.

Inside the elaborate set, a childlike ensemble of adult actors - the good boy and the bad boy - face each other off. At the play’s start, the Digital theater tells us that Austin (Eugene O'Hare) ‘the achiever,’ an earnest screenwriter on the verge of success, is working on a script he has sold to a Hollywood producer (Steven Elliot) while house-sitting for his mother (Barbara Rafferty) in LA.

When his brother Lee (Alex Ferns) ‘the drifter’ and petty thief decides to stop by, he pitches his own idea for a movie and convinces the producer to ditch Austin’s love story for his own trashy Western tale. Now they must work together to secure the deal. But with mistrust and jealousy bubbling under the surface and the heat of a Californian night melting away their inhibitions, their own flaws threaten to get in the way.

'Brilliant acting behind hysterical characters'

Each actor is worth noting, but standouts include Alex Ferns as Lee and Eugene O'Hare as Austin. Not to mention, Barbara Rafferty as Mom and Steven Elliot as Saul - the Hollywood producer. The comedic timing of each is spotless, however, I don't think there was a dry seat in the house.

These actors were just undeniably good, and they achieve their goal to become a fully realized three-dimensional character with a backstory.

Director Phillip Breen has put together a captivating masterpiece with smooth light changes, an understandable focus, and an innovative vision that revived an old classic of Sam Shepard. Each actor played off their partner and stayed in the moment until the end of the show.

In addition, the lighting design of Tina Machugh and the sound design of Andrea J Cox enhanced the show in many ways. The lighting can be described as creative, with a red light that played its own distinct part in the show - this made things more intense. Likewise, the sound design was crisp and had an artistic flair.

Not to mention, the fight director Renny Krupinski added more thrill to the show and the costume designs were suitable to its time and seemed to coordinate well with each character — contemporary, business-casual, and muted colors — and everything looks on-fleek.

'Loads of character strengths to inspire cinematic aspiration'

After the play had finished, each character had the potential to move the audience into feeling cinematic aspiration through the character strengths and virtues that were on display by each character. These include knowledge, creativity, curiosity, love of learning, courage, bravery, perseverance, zest, humanity, love, social intelligence, justice, teamwork, fairness, temperance, forgiveness, humility, transcendence, and humor.

I encourage you to go see this production. At any time of year, hundreds of theaters are putting on shows, but only the Digital Theater can be found with both a live and on-screen rendition like this one. If you want to slip through the cracks of a white picket fence into the American dream, then stay at home and log on to the Digital Theater website to support this humorous three-person cast!

The show 'True West' runs throughout the week - at any given time - for the cost of $5.99 to rent or $12.99 to buy in digital format. If you would like more details for seeing this show, please visit the online site of the Digital Theater.

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