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The Lyons 

When: Jan. 30-March 8 2015
Phone: 510-843-4822
Price: $32-$50
AuroraTheatre.org
The Lyons is as beastly as its feline almost-namesake suggests — replete with instances of death, domestic violence, homophobia, addiction, and the kind of emotional mauling that comes with enduring a lifetime of small regrets. The dark farce of a play — written by Nicky Silver (Pterodactyls, Raised in Captivity), and directed with scalpel precision by Barbara Damashek — made its Bay Area debut recently at Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre (2081 Addison St.). Silver, whose work is often compared to the likes of Joe Orton and Edward Albee, prefers his comedy with teeth (or “high wit and low self-esteem,” as he’s quoted in the program notes as saying), and even the lines that draw the biggest laughs (and there are many) are smothered in a kind of sadness gravy (the best kind, in my opinion). In the end, the play’s tightly wound ruthlessness and galloping pace leave few moments for much reflection, but afterward, you might find yourself with an unknowable ache (and perhaps a renewed relief that your family is not like the Lyons).
— Anna Pulley

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