Eric Engel, who did such a fine job of directing Gloucester's previous production, Table Manners, is not as impressive here. He might have told Denise Cormier — very talented every other time I've seen her — that she doesn't need to shoot for the balcony when there are only half a dozen rows. Richard McElvain can be sensational or over the top. He's a little of both as Frank, desperately trying to animate this wretch, but he could be reined in here or there. Brendan Powers does the best one can with the bland Brian.

But it's the writing that's the problem. Wasn't it Anton Chekhov who said that if there's an RV parked outside the house in the first act, it eventually has to be driven? Tender just can't get out of the driveway.

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