photo: T. Charles Erickson
In a role written for her, Jan Maxwell sounds notes of believable anguish and despair playing a suburban mom mourning her son, recently killed along with many of his classmates in a freak accident. As good as Maxwell is, as always, she can't rescue the play, which tries to quirk up its destination to the land of Hallmark by pairing the grieving mom with a kooky, full-of-life substitute teacher whose eccentricities (such as exercising in the classroom in his underwear upon their first meeting) are meant to be endearing but mostly register as incoherent and bizarre. (Not at all the blame of Kieran Campion, who does all that anyone could reasonably be expected to do with the part). The play is further dragged down by flashback scenes of two students who also died in the accident: their scenes don't flow into the narrative and quickly sink the show's pace.