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Summering in the Catskills has long been popular with Jewish New Yorkers –offering a chance to get away from the heat of the city, and, for the young,the possibility of romance.

In multi-award-winning playwright Richard Greenberg’s superficially gentle drama, the title refers not only to the all-in hotel rate offering almost non-stop meals, but also to a way of life aspired to in the 60s which wealthy widow Eva (a Jewish émigré who claims to have caught the last boat out of Hitler’s Germany) wants to secure for her emotionally fragile daughter Lili – so long as the man in question meets with her approval, and that’s proving to be a pretty tough call.

When Luke Allen-Gale’s attractive Nick emerges, dripping, onto the jetty,Lili thinks her knight in shining armour has finally arrived – but Eva seems all set to scare him off, too.

None of the characters proves completely truthful, which leaves scope for various twists and the younger members of the cast persuasively handle the changes in mood, with Emily Taaffe touchingly vulnerable as Lili and Mark Edel-Hunt’s forceful Gil making a late appearance to throw another unexpected spanner in the works.

But Diana Quick’s Eva seems oddly ponderous for such a manipulative woman and although David Grindley’s production garnered excellent reviews in Bath earlier this year, this 1990 American drama with its debt to Tennessee Williams seems to have lost something in the transfer.

St James, 21 Palace Street, SW1E 5JA
Tube: Victoria
Until 10th August £15 –£40
(£50.00 Premium seats)

Photo: Jane Hobson


The American Plan - theatre review: St James Theatre, London
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