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Carpenter Square's 'O'Conner Girls' rings secrets, laughs from patriarch's passing



Just after Christmas in snowy Minnesota, and a year of extended care, the Irish patriarch of the O'Conner family dies. Even before the funeral, wife Sarah begins cleaning out the clutter of memorabilia and clothes that represent his life.

Gradually, the family story unfolds, with some secrets that are not necessarily earthshaking, but reveal significant.

Director Terry Veal and his cast get lots of credit for bringing this story to life with warmth and fine detail. Laurel Jaworsky hits all the right notes as the mother, sympathetically representing that older generation who never strayed from marriage or religious vows, even when those conspired to make life impossibly difficult.

Jo Perryman captures nicely the conflicting sides of both the preening, manipulative Liz and the fading beauty who can recall the precise moment when she realized men no longer noticed her looks.

Kris Schinske gives a sweet, good-natured quality to insecure Martha that keeps her out of slippery martyr territory, but, more importantly, illuminates her desperate longing for something or someone more.

Kyle Watson is charming as the young doctor who has his eye on one of the sisters, and the wonderful Donna Mackie nails bossy Aunt Margie, but with clever restraint. Instead of being the aunt everybody loves as long as she isn't yours, you actually might want her in your family.

Playwright Katie Forgette knows how to spin some entertaining dialogue and forge a lovable, recognizable family unit. While light in the plot area, it is still a pleasant, warm evening and a satisfying way to kick off the holidays.

"?Linda McDonald



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