Thom Geier
November 21, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Retreat From Moscow

type
Stage
Current Status
In Season
run date
10/02/03
performer
John Lithgow
director
Daniel Sullivan

We gave it a C+

Who knew the upper lips would be this stiff? In William Nicholson’s terribly British and terribly old-fashioned new melodrama, John Lithgow plays a crossword-loving history teacher who waits until his grown son (Ben Chaplin) comes home for the weekend to walk out on his wife of 33 years (Eileen Atkins). After spending two acts watching her needle these two overly passive men with bursts of dogmatic aggression, you have to wonder what took him so long. Still, occasional moments resonate as touchingly raw, thanks to a gifted cast struggling gamely with material that suggests Lifetime more than real life.

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