In Bed with Chuck and Lois

Rated 4.0 In Bed with Chuck and Lois is a comedy about the very married, for the very married. Though the title sounds salacious, the play is actually a mild-mannered glimpse at a well-established couple’s dance of communication.Local playwright and Rocklin resident Joni Hilton pairs with Beyond the Proscenium Productions to debut this clever look at the 20-year marriage of a committed couple. The story takes place all in one night, following a social get-together that brings up all the insecurities of life and love in the ’burbs.

In a familiar scene, Chuck (SN&R film critic Mark Halverson) and Lois (Kelly Vent) sit on their bed and review the evening, commenting on people and perceived slights. Hilton adds an ingenious twist by having two additional actors, billed as Chuck’s Brain (a very talented Cameron Johnson) and Lois’ Brain (Trish DeBaun), act out the real thoughts behind the couples’ careful comments.

Hilton plays it safe; there are no real conflicts or major issues between these two, except for the practiced nitpicking that goes on between them. She leaves no doubt that Chuck and Lois will go to bed together, and wake up together, forever more.

Unfortunately, though the play is filled with sharp dialogue, clever repartees and some nice performances, it too often seems dated and clichéd. The husband is concerned about sex, tools, money and sports, and the wife worries about her weight, shopping, the Parent Teacher Association and kids. There aren’t a lot of problems or stress in Chuck’s and Lois’ lives, except for a pesky in-law and secret shopping sprees—which makes for a good old-fashioned marriage but not overly compelling theater.