Wishing Well opens on a stormy night in Bald Head Island, N.C., as Callie Quayle explains she’s been called to her childhood home, along with her younger sister, Cindy Cauthen, by their mother for a family meeting. The invitation brings dread and cynicism to all parties involved. Mrs. Cauthen has a secret to share with her children. Not to be outdone, the sisters have planned to unveil their own lies and omissions. In time, they are joined by Callie’s husband, Dennis, the local weatherman notorious for underestimating the weather; and Richard, a young black neighbor who quickly attracts Cindy’s attention.The three women are a firestorm onstage together. Elisabeth Nunziato portrays Callie as a hilariously cynical, 40-ish claims adjustor who derives confidence from setting up her family for her scathing quips. Her sexy 19- year-old sister, played by Dana Brooke, lashes out and guards herself with the only weapon she feels she has: sex appeal. All the while, their mother, played by Judy Jean Berns, feeds off of the “emotional bulimia” she created in their upbringing.
Though it is hilarious to watch the men try to keep up, at times their characters are sacrificed for laughs. Luckily, David Pierini and Stephen Lamar bring enough humor and likeability to their respective roles to prevent this from being a problem.
B Street’s production values are top-notch, and Jon Klein’s script is effectively tight while maintaining richness. Klein’s use of the family’s wishing well—with its own unique rules—to initiate the manifestation of the truth is unique and compelling. At times, the script borders on cliché, with so many twists and turns piled on top of one another that you’d think M. Night Shyamalan had a writing credit, but this is usually saved by the superb acting. Overall, the production does a wonderful job of examining why we keep secrets from the ones we love.