Other Desert Cities

Seeking drama and humor in the living rooms of the privileged class, Jon Robin Baitz introduces us to Lyman and Polly Wyeth, retirees from 1960s-era Hollywood and old guard conservatives. Unfortunately, the drama (a tell-all memoir by their daughter Brooke) is not compelling, and the humor lodges in tired one liners. Helen Carey, as Polly, does give us a flinty Nancy Reagan; Larry Bryggman’s tentativeness as Lyman is puzzling.

The narrative’s chronology is forced and confusing: most of the play takes place shortly after the invasion of Iraq, yet the still-young Brooke is called upon to remember events from the Vietnam War, a minimum of three decades prior.

  • Other Desert Cities, by Jon Robin Baitz, directed by Kyle Donnelly, Arena Stage Fichandler Theatre, Washington