First published in The Times, Tuesday August 18 2015
Dysfunctional families are the bread and butter of the American theatre, but the Ballard brothers in Samuel Brett Williams’ one-act play exhibit enough hang-ups to fill a psychology textbook. We meet the three siblings, from Hot Springs, Arkansas, on the day of their father’s funeral, which happens to coincide with derby day at the legendary Oaklawn Park racetrack. They’re installed in a luxury private box. “Well, our dad only dies once,” says Frank, the eldest, raising a toast to the man they privately nicknamed “Big Bastard”.