Chris Mulkey

A departure that feels studied, not lived

A departure that feels studied, not lived

Ruskin Group Theatre has revived the Canadian classic “Leaving Home,” David French’s heavily autobiographical first play. It’s in some ways an odd choice for the little Los Angeles theater.

Although its theme—intergenerational misunderstanding—is universal, the story is rooted in a specific and remote cultural context, the concerns of which seem unlikely to resonate with audiences here on a visceral level (not a lot of Catholic-hating Orangemen in Santa Monica these days).

Perhaps as a result, this carefully realistic production feels studied, rather than lived; it never quite shakes off its quaintness.

But its central characters, Jacob and Mary Mercer, based on the...

EDITION: California | U.S. & World