Mom Theatre Blogger: CAN YOU FORGIVE HER? Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

(Photo credit: Carol Rosegg)

CAN YOU FORGIVE HER?, directed by Peter DuBois, stars Amber Tamblyn (“Joan of Arcadia,” The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) making an impressive New York stage debut, joining Eshan Bay (“House of Cards”),  Ella Dershowitz (INTIMACY), Darren Pettie (“Mad Men”), and Tony Award-winner Frank Wood (SIDE MAN).

It’s Halloween night, and a trampy, Goth looking Miranda (Tamblyn) struts her stuff and way into the home of 40 year old, twice divorced Graham (Pettie) and his 20 something, bartender fiance, single mom Tanya (Dershowitz). The couple is on the heels of getting engaged, as Graham committed to taking on the responsibility of revamping the New Jersey beach house inherited from his mom six months ago so they can make money as a rental.  Graham had become somewhat of a grieving couch potato since her death, and to say Miranda adds an adrenaline rush is an understatement.

Miranda is running from a date she swears is looking to kill her, and a sugar daddy is in the picture who she is relying on to pay her large accumulated debt.  Graham offers refuge by inviting her back to his home after they meet at the bar where Tanya works.

I am a fan of the work by playwright Gina Gionfriddo, particularly RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN,  but this play didn’t quite measure up for me.  Gionfriddo is adept at giving voice to the hardships of women and how they aim to take control of their lives, particularly financial, and for that, I applaud her.  Unfortunately, in this dialogue-laden 90 minute scenario, we spend considerable time listening to a back ‘n forth between Miranda and Graham as they share drinks and stories.  While the writing is at times crisp and witty, the conversation grows wearisome, and little transpires.

The elephant in the room is a stack of boxes of literary works that Graham’s mom left behind, and he can’t quite bring himself to read them, including her journals. Gionfriddo gets you thinking about parent-child relationships, even as we witness a well grown man still grappling with his. As it turns out, after all the anticipation, it might have served the play well to share some of his mother’s work earlier.

Miranda’s character took ownership of the play from the moment we meet her, and thankfully, Tamblyn is an actress worth watching. Though Miranda is a bit of a one-note drama queen, we feel the vulnerability beneath and yearn for better things for her.

The other actors hold their own, though their characters are not overly engaging.

The design team for the play includes set design by Allen Moyer (Vineyard’s DOT, THE LYONS), costume design by Jessica Pabst (THE HEIDI CHRONICLES), lighting design by Russell Champa (IN THE NEXT ROOM), and sound design by Daniel Kluger (SIGNIFICANT OTHER).

Can we “forgive” Gionfriddo for this one?  I look forward with anticipation to future works as strong as her earlier Pulitzer Prize-nominated plays.




  1. One Response to “Mom Theatre Blogger: CAN YOU FORGIVE HER? Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman”

  2. I always look forward to your reviews. They are so honest and engaging.

    By Andrea Santo Felcone on May 31, 2017