Last week I saw The Lyric Stage Co. production, 33 Variations. The story opens in present day in New York City with a heated conversation between a mother and daughter, but in the next scene the audience is drawn into a second story involving Ludwig van Beethoven. Sound complicated? Not interested in the music scene from 19th century Austria? These were my thoughts too when I first read about the show, and it is why I wanted to be sure I dispel these reservations – they are unfounded. I promise you will thank me for telling you to go.
The Lyric Stage Co. does an excellent job suspending time and weaving these stories that on the surface are about Beethoven’s piano masterpiece the Diabelli Variations, but actually have a lot more to do with personal relationships, individual passions and the need for closure. Dr. Katherine Brandt played by Paula Plum steals the show perhaps because her story is so compelling – even though at times I found her character so frustrating I wanted to walk down on to the stage and shake some sense into her.
Dr. Brandt’s friction with her daughter and fixation on her research happen to be incredibly relatable and I suppose that is what I found so engaging about her character and the entire play. I had assumed the storyline would be too cerebral for me to sit back and simply enjoy. The humorous dialog and candid conversations that run through out the show will draw you in and the two hours will pass so quickly you’ll be left wondering if The Lyric Stage Co. ability to suspend time on stage had somehow extended to your seat as well. So pick up tickets and make a night of it. I assure you it is money well spent and an evening you will enjoy.33 Variations – The Lyric Stage Company in Back Bay January 4 thru February 2, 2013 Purchase tickets here