Lost in America


Home for the holidays with the cast of <i>Reckless</i>.

Home for the holidays with the cast of Reckless.

Rated 3.0

Rachel, an annoyingly optimistic and cheerful wife, believes she is living a perfect life. A loving husband, two young sons and a beautiful suburban home.

The illusion fades as her husband, Tom, suddenly confesses on Christmas Eve that he has hired a professional hit man to kill her—oh, and he’s downstairs as they are speaking. Fleeing her home in the middle of a snowy night wearing Santa slippers and a nightgown, Rachel is taken in by Lloyd, a physical therapist and deadbeat dad who lives with his deaf, paraplegic girlfriend, Pooty.

Invited to stay, Rachel begins a new life with a new name and once again becomes too perky for words. That is until the next Christmas, when twisted tragedy once again ensues, leading her on a bizarre, spiraling trip across the United States, where she always lives in cities named “Springfield.” And that’s merely the beginning.

The real fun begins on a game show titled Your Mother, Or Your Wife.

Instead of spreading Christmas cheer with any of the classic tales of yuletide and peace and joy, the California Stage takes an alternative approach to the holiday season with its presentation of the black comedy, Reckless.

Written by award-winning playwright Craig Lucas and made into a movie in 1995 starring Mia Farrow, Mary-Louise Parker and Stephen Dorff, Reckless is comparable to a freight train accident that just keeps going and going, and every time you think it’s just about over, it finds some way of getting even more perverse and muddled.

Lucas is known for his groundbreaking and often offbeat work, having penned such well-known projects as Prelude to a Kiss, The Secret Lives of Dentists and the 1990 movie Longtime Companion, the first major Hollywood production to tackle the issue of AIDS. Lucas also wrote the Broadway hit Blue Window, which has been a favorite of theatergoers since its debut in 1984.

If not for the talent of a fabulous ensemble, Reckless would be about as enjoyable as a trip to the dentist on your birthday. But led by Lynn Baker in the role of Rachel, the cast manages to pull this wild ride together and delivers a number of laughs and even a few memorable moments.

Elly award-winning actress and choreographer Erin Renfree manages to steal several scenes with hilarious portrayals of six different therapists.

Likewise, Mollie Michie-Lepp shines in the role of Pooty, and Nancy Martis brings unexpected laughs in the role of Trish, one of Rachel’s surly co-workers.

Although technical aspects interrupt the flow of the play with poor lighting effects, numerous black-outs and unnecessary set changes, Reckless stands as an example of what good casting can do for a production. The show is about dealing with the past in order to move on with your life.