Sam Shepard’s big story although written in the seventies about America in the fifties is a tale for our times. It’s set in America somewhere near the Mexican border mid desert and once again the set is magnificent – a cross section of a house plonked in the aforementioned desert.
It’s a long show and it is full of bleak and black comedy, centring on the breakdown of a dysfunctional American family. Dad, a drunk ex airman, is rarely at home and always in fixes which leads to an accumulation of debt that he solves by ‘selling’ the house to a local thug. But his plans are scuppered because mum too has ‘sold’ the house to a lawyer ‘friend’ and speculator. She plans to use the proceeds to visit Europe with her son and daughter to take in a bit of culture.
Clearly both aint gonna be happy with the actions of the other.
The central metaphor, hunger, and an empty fridge to illustrate it, shows how the pursuit of money is often fruitless. It certainly resonates in these times where the banks’ fridges lie empty.
Just as with the recent Miller production (The man who had all the luck) the cast hold their American characterisation to perfection and to a person they create a world that is wholly believable and tragic. It is yet another excellent show from Mark Thomson and deserves big audiences and a great deal of respect.