‘Small Family Business’ production succeeds

Gilberto Galvez, Culture editor

One of the funniest moments in “A Small Family Business,” the current play out in by the Linfield Theatre, is also one of the darkest, and that is how the comedy works.

The audience shares in the characters’ hilarity and hysteria as crimes are committed left and right, and blackmail ends up being one of the key plot points.

The story in “A Small Family Business” centers around the family business and its new patriarch, Jack McCracken.

Jack soon realizes that not everything is quite correct with the way the business is being run and as a man of integrity decides to work on fixing it.

Unfortunately, the deeper he digs the more convoluted it all becomes as each member of the family, outlined clearly in the family tree within the program, reveals their own secrets.

But it’s in the subtle humor where this production feels complete.

The set is a house set up to reveal every room besides two. And while the main action may be occurring in the kitchen, it is hilarious to see what the characters are doing while not being the center of focus.

The actors and stage give life to a family that feels real. And thankfully, the darkness and humor find a powerful balance.

Janet Gupton, the director, wrote in her program note, “Staying true to Ayckbourn’s talent for comedy, our production keeps alive the long theatrical tradition of British farce without undercutting the darker message the play delivers with a punch to the gut: that entrepreneurial aspirations combined with individual greed can lead to cataclysmic results for a family and a nation.”

The last two performances of “A Small Family Business” are May 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Marshall Theatre located in Ford Hall.