The Vertical Hour

I don’t see many plays in which the narrative of the characters’ lives is only incidental. But given the proximity of the election, the theme of David Hare’s drama—the Iraq war and the imperialistic advancement of American democracy in the Middle East—struck a piercing chord with the audience. The confrontation is between a prowar American (Annie Lareau) and her prospective British father-in-law (Kevin McKeon), a philandering, ex-hippie physician with a biting outlook on most everything, particularly the Bush doctrine. The cast uses credible and humorous stage devices to inject a much-needed dose of theatrics into Hare’s novelish dialogue. The chemistry between Lareau and McKeon’s characters played off well against the taciturn disapproval of the son/fiancé (John Ulman), caught between their hardy expositions like a bystander at a bar unable to get a word in edgewise. JENNA NAND ArtsWest, 4711 California Ave. S.W., 938-0339, $29. 7:30 p.m. Wed.–Sat., 3 p.m. Sun. Ends Oct. 4.

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Sept. 10. Continues through Oct. 4, 2008

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