Opal Alladin (left) and Avi Toque in "Tiny Beautiful Things." Photo by Jim Cox
Author Cheryl Strayed’s “Dear Sugar” advice column ran for almost two years in the online literary magazine The Rumpus, and it was no “Dear Abby.” Both its inquiries and its answers were lengthy, sometimes painfully frank and, in the case of Strayed’s advice, delivered with literary aplomb. A subsequent book compiled from the “Dear Sugar” columns later became a one-act play adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos. Tiny Beautiful Things is getting its West Coast premiere in the Old Globe’s theater-in-the-round space.
Directed by James Vasquez, Opal Alladin bravely portrays Strayed, who responds to three supporting actors (Keith Powell, Dorcas Sowunmi and Avi Roque) portraying letter writers. The subject matter is frequently dark, even wrenching, with even one of “Sugar’s” own life stories just as horrifying. The play strives to soothe and succor, though as with real life, uneasiness pervades throughout.
(Review originally published in San Diego CityBeat on 2/20/19.)
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.