Disfunctional families never cease to be prime theater subjects and the rural Oklahoman, wild Weston brood, as unleashed in Tracy Letts’ “August: Osage County”, is no exception. At the hellish heart of this family sits the gleefully savage and sharp-tongued, pill-popping mother, Violet Weston.

Violet is a handsome devil of a woman full of a heady blend of flaws and charm, played with a fierce and unflinching depth by Deanna Dunagan. Though she is definitely the standout character around which this captivating play revolves, the rest of her family has enough repellant quirks and dark secrets to keep the plot twisting at an incredible speed. Whether you’re laughing, cringing or on the verge of tears, the energetic, dirty fun never lets up. Lecherous uncles, disappearing dads, unknowing siblings in love, pot-smoking teens, a teacher husband in love with a teenage student… this is the shredding stuff of your best (worst) dreams.

Fans of the bleakest of black comedies, from Sam Shepard’s “Buried Child” to Martin McDonagh’s “The Pillowman”, or, even closer in theme to Letts’ latest play, films like Happiness and Requiem for a Dream, will hold “August” near and dear to their gothic drama-loving hearts. The play, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, with its cast made up of members of the Steppenwolf Theater Company (including STC co-founder Jeff Perry, also known as Thatcher Grey on Grey’s Anatomy) and Broadway regulars, is a force to be reckoned with. Though the stinging laughs of “August” might not be for every kind of theater-goer, this is a crowd-pleasing production, and better yet, American ensemble acting at its finest.–MVW

go to www.augustonbroadway.com for more info