London Theater Review: Laura Linney in ‘My Name Is Lucy Barton’

Stories have a way of opening up on a stage. Elizabeth Strout’s bestselling novel “My Name Is Lucy Barton” looks, at first glance, like a curious choice for a theatrical adaptation. It’s ruminative, reflective, and all but becalmed: a bedbound writer’s hazy recollections looking back on her life. There’s little action, still less drama, scant theatricality. And yet, in Richard Eyre’s understated staging, exquisitely performed by Laura Linney, its stillness and slowness come to seem like strengths. Lucy Barton’s personal meditation blossoms into something bigger than itself – a portrait of America, perhaps even of history as a whole.

“My Name Is Lucy Barton” is, as its title suggests, a search for identity. Laid up in a Manhattan hospital bed, battling a life-threatening illness after a routine appendix operation, its protagonist reaches for a sense of herself. She’s lost enough weight that her reflection has changed, and the family she defines herself by — a husband, two daughters — can’t be at her bedside. Instead, she wakes to find her estranged mother sat at the foot of her bed, a visit that trips her back to childhood and the cornfields of Amgash, Ill., a long way from New York and the life she leads now.

Off Broadway Review: ‘Sugar in Our Wounds’