Stage Review

The Retreat From Moscow (2003)

EW's GRADE
C+

Details Opening Date: Oct 02, 2003; Lead Performance: John Lithgow; Director: Daniel Sullivan

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.

Originally posted Nov 21, 2003 Published in issue #738 Nov 21, 2003 Order article reprints