In this Vineyard Theatre presentation Nicky Silver’s comedy “This Day Forward” comes together in the second act with more strength than in the first act, although there is much humor in the initial half too.
The year is 1958 in Manhattan and we are introduced to a situation in which Michael Crane as Martin and Holly Fain as Irene have just been married and are in their honeymoon hotel room. Irene, still dressed in her white bridal gown, rejects Martin when he makes his expected sexual moves. She has a secret she must tell him.
No spoiler here. Her revelation, which takes her time to spit out, throws him into turmoil. There’s more to the scene, and unfortunately, despite the laughter induced, it drags out so much that one’s patience can be tested.
Time has passed to 2004 in the second act and we see what the playwright is up to. He weighs what might have been and comes to grip with reality. Now Crane plays Martin’s son Noah, who is gay and living with his very touchy partner, Leo (Andrew Burnap), resenting that Noah is separating him from his family life.
Enter Noah’s sister Sheila (Francesca Faridany) with their mother, Irene—the same Irene from the first act only now elderly and played by June Gable. (In Act I Gable amusingly was the chambermaid.) She doesn’t look anything like the Irene we first met, but she is absolutely hilarious as the dotty woman losing her marbles and exasperating Sheila, resentful of having to look after her mother and planning to leave her with Noah. Faridany, who is excellent, delivers a heroic women’s rights speech protesting why it is always the sister who gets such responsibilities.
A key cast member is Joe Tippett as the muscular Emil, who figures in the lives of Irene and and Frank—just how is better left to those seeing the play. Silver takes a whack at marital relationships and also the relationship between Noah and Leo. Heterosexual or gay—it doesn’t matter. Relationships can be hell, and people’s dreams can remain unfulfilled and only wispy memories. At the Vineyard Theatre, 108 East 15th Street, Phone: 866-811-4111. Reviewed November 27, 2016.