Though laughter abounds in the Huntington Theatre Company’s solid production of “Vengeance is the Lord’s,” the gritty tale of the dysfunctional Horvath family is anything but a comedy.

It’s easy to laugh at the caustic, F-bomb laced barbs being tossed around at family gatherings as this talented troupe creates uproariously authentic familial chaos. It’s equally appealing to get caught up in playwright Bob Glaudini’s borderline overdramatic storyline.

But what turns this tale into compelling drama is the underlying lack of chemistry within this sorely damaged family. Though they present a united front as they conduct business, celebrate holidays and deal with the tragic fate of one of their own, each member of this family behaves like a wounded soldier sharing a foxhole with other victims simply to survive.

It’s fascinating to watch them each spin the truth to meet their own needs while collectively maintaining the grand illusion they call business as usual. Joy and happiness are foreign to the Horvaths, as is any chance of escaping their plight.

Stellar performances by Katie Kreisler, Roberta Wallach and Johnny Lee Davenport add great depth and authenticity to the production. But it’s director Peter DuBois who makes it so much more than the made-for-TV thuggish family melodrama it could’ve been.

‘Vengeance is the Lord’s’
Through Sunday
Boston University Theatre
264 Huntington Ave., Boston
$15-$89, 617-266-0800

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