Over the River and Through the Woods, Mercury Theater. Joe DiPietro has written a love story for a boy and his grandparents. Oh, there’s a girl in it–a girl smart enough to recognize that her introduction to the clan by its elders is a stratagem to dissuade their grandson from leaving New Jersey, where they all live, and taking a job on the west coast. But the focus of this bittersweet comedy is what the young and the old expect of each other–and what they owe each other.

Director Michael Weber and his cast–venerable character actors Bernie Landis, Renee Matthews, Vince Viverito, and Glory Kissel as the two sets of grandparents and bright youngsters Matt Orlando and Shana Goodsell–tailor their performances to the intimate space of the Mercury Theater. Softening the play’s sitcom aspects amplifies its enduring wisdom and the characters’ richly textured history. And after a run at the Theater at the Center in Munster, Indiana, the ensemble interacts like a real family.