2023 Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Road to the End’ by Bella Panciocco

By Whit Davis

This article was originally published in DC Theater Arts here.

It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine. The Road to the End uses comedy to tell a story of grief and how we can use it to process our feelings. In 75 minutes the play examines themes of loss, grief, memories, friendship, bravery, and forgiveness.

What appears to be a fairly regular road trip to the Grand Canyon for a father and son, Steve and Henry, actually turns into something surprising. They pick up a hitchhiker by the name of Dabria. She helps the characters to peel back the layers of their rocky relationship. In many ways, Dabria and Henry are alike. They’re both travelers with heavy baggage who are looking to escape from the pain they’re feeling. Over the course of their journey, Henry and Dabria help each other make peace with their past and the people they love.

 The play uses two sets of characters for the past and present, which could have made the story difficult to follow, but the actors were very committed to their characters. The actors maintain the relational dynamics between the characters in the present and references to the past, and as a result, we always stay aware of the story.

I left this play reflecting on road trips, a seemingly mundane thing but a shared experience many of us can relate to.

If you’re interested in a quirky heartwarming story that confronts the sometimes complicated relationships between a child and their parent — especially an adult child and their parent — I recommend this play.

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