The Subject Was Roses
... Dramaworks' season-opening production centers on John and Nettie Cleary's worn-out marriage and the flicker of life that briefly returns to it when their son, Timmy, returns from serving in World War II... Gilroy sketches a sharp portrait of a failed marriage in language that's both telling and economical. ...the play is worth seeing...for the craft lavished on the production. Cary Barker's Nettie is a polished pearl of smoldering resentment and crafty manipulation. Zolan Henderson plays Timmy with a well-tuned combination of sunny stubbornness and deep-down kindness. William Hayes' direction is pitch-perfect, with small but critical moments precisely chiseled to support the dramatic peaks. Michael Amico's set design encloses the Clearys in an antiseptic domesticity, while Erin Amico's costumes underscore the characters' conformity. Suzanne Jones' lighting design supports the story unobtrusively, and is particularly lovely in a late-night scene in which the characters are bathed in a wash of light and shadow, as though illuminated by street lights through a window.