REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

Buena Vista

By Edith Frenisteppenwolf theatre

Directed by Tim Hopper

Part of Steppenwolf  Theatre’s First Look Repertory of New Work

Buena Vista redefines what a dysfunctional family is

In a remote mountain cabin in rural Colorado, we find Freddy (Karen Vaccaro) plunked on the couch surrounded by garbage bags filled with her possessions. Enter Noah (Luigi Sottile), Freddy’s estranged son. From the go we realize that theses two are bitter enemies. Noah barley speaks to Freddy. Noah has returned to the family cabin to escape from is work troubles in South Florida. Freddy has lost her house for financial and health problems. She has been squatting there for months. The two combatants summon Tom (Rich Komenich), Freddy’s ex and Noah’s father to sort out who can stay in the cabin.

steppenwolf theatre Once Tom arrives as series of revelations ignite battles and the extent of the damage  to each character is demonstrated. Surprisingly, Monica (Leah Karpel) arrives from San Francisco. She is Noah’s true love despite their troubled past. Freddy and Tom despise her feeling that she is dangerous to Na oh’s psyche.

steppenwolf theatre Without giving away too much, let me state that Edith Freni’s plotting and her rich characters expertly play by the cast are engaging and real. From Vaccaro’s bittersweet mother to Tom’s stoic father to Monica’s hot-cold emotional swings to Noah’s character contradictions,  Buena Vista tackles the diluted family dynamic into a bizarre nightmare played out in a snow storm. The work is a surreal suspense with hints of macabre.  The emergence of each character’s  foibles leads to peculiar results. Give this show a look, it’ll entice you and it will keep you engrossed throughout. Karen Vaccaro and Luigi Sottile were terrific.


Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

For more info checkout the Buena Vista page at

At the Steppenwolf Theatre Garage, 1624 N. Halsted, Chicago, Il, tickets $20 – $15 for students,, click on the First Look link.

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