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Review: In ‘True Right,’ George W. and Jeb Bush Meet Sam Shepard


Gemma Kaneko, left, and Brittany K. Allen in “True Right” at the New Ohio Theater.

Lauryn McCarter

The president-turned-painter George W. Bush is at his easel when his brother Jeb walks in. George is working on a dual portrait — of himself with their father, the first President Bush — but for Jeb the Oval Office is still a dream unrealized.

Thus Jeb’s surprise visit to his brother in the satire “True Right,” part of the Ice Factory festival at the New Ohio Theater. Floundering in the Republican primaries, Jeb wants George to come on the road with him, help him out in getting to the White House.

On the one hand, a play about these two Bush brothers would seem to have passed its expiration date: Haven’t we moved on? On the other, there is something almost escapist about turning the clock back to the 2016 election, before the nominees were in place, before the news became all Trump all the time.

And “True Right,” created by the theater company Bess and George, seems promising. It has a mostly clever script, and it borrows its structure from “True West,” Sam Shepard’s classic dissection of vicious rivalry and violent loathing between brothers. Directed by Gemma Kaneko, “True Right” models its performance concept on the two-hander “Matt & Ben,” Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers’s bro-tastic spoof of the Matt Damon-Ben Affleck friendship, in which women play both stars.

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