la-et-cm-blackbird-play-review-20160311Photo by Brigitte Lacombe

BLACKBIRD could have easily gotten the “movie of the week” treatment, but instead David Harrower is true to his name and gives us a concisely structured, harrowing story of a 27-year-old woman who hunts down the man who sexually abused her when she was 12 years old.  Jeff Daniels as Ray, with his shoulders stooped and his world-weary attitude, tries his darndest to make us think that this is a love story, but just one look at the shattered, emotionally stunted Una played by the amazing Michelle Williams, and we begin to worry for her safety.  Her speech is halting and she is a mess of ticks.  Her performance is just shy of too broad, but she pulls back just in time to break your heart and you realize; this is a fine actress.

Joe Mantello is on a winning streak as a director that has lasted decades.  The opening movement sets the tone perfectly.  Some of the dialogue in the beginning is a little too stilted for my taste, but this show roars through its plot and has something to add to our understanding of the psychology of criminals and victims.  This is no “movie of the week,” indeed.

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