Zsa Zsa Gershick’s dramedy “Bluebonnet Court” receives a sensational, nuanced production at the Hudson Mainstage Theater in its world premiere. The play isn’t perfect: Having all the central characters in the story, set in 1944 Texas, turn out to be gay strains credulity, and there are at least two subplots too many. These points aside, the work is well written, funny and moving. Director Kelly Ann Ford gets credit for creative staging, making the most of the small space and drawing rich performances from a generally superb cast.
Cohen centers the play with a perf full of wry, flinty humor, but she also excels in quiet moments, particularly in a scene in which she speaks frankly to Roy about the difficulties of her life. Hood is simply wonderful as Lila Jean, her Texas accent spot-on as she revels in chatty high gear. This is an exquisitely realized piece of acting, with every note, both comedic and dramatic, pitch perfect. Rajah is excellent as well in a multilayered turn: She’s deferential toward her employers, quietly seductive with Helen and finally nervously brave a subtle and affecting portrayal.
Nail does a fine job but is hampered by some unbelievable writing for his character. Michelle Merring tries but can’t make the role of Nanalu more than the overwrought Tennessee Williams pastiche it is. Jeanne Simpson and Andrew Thacher are very funny as varied radio performers, and Simpson in particular is a hoot, capturing any number of plummy voices and over-the-top period acting styles.