Murder, suicide by champagne, and insanity… doesn’t exactly sound like the average Christmas-themed play. Unlike most holiday plays, which tend to be unusually sappy, Craig Lucas’ “Reckless” is funny and entertaining. The play definitely catches the audience mid-breath by addressing offbeat issues such as attempted murder and psychotic pseudo-names.
“Reckless” follows Rachel (Christy Escobar) as she goes through what can definitely be deemed an unusual Christmas. Rachel’s murderous husband Tom initially garners our sympathy due to Rachel’s high-pitched voice and relentless babble about the “wonders of Christmas.”
However, as Rachel changes names and addresses in an attempt to hide from her past, her character becomes a bit more bearable. On this journey she meets a seemingly simple couple, Lloyd and Pooty (played by Sean Harrigan and Lydia Rae Benko), who take her in with no explanation. Along the way, Rachel also meets several therapists and a game show host, and she even makes a talk show appearance. We eventually come to find Rachel is not the only one with a past to hide, as every character has some skeletons hidden in his or her closet.
All of the actors were phenomenal, but Escobar shines as the protagonist. She masters her character’s emotional range and tackles Rachel’s unrelenting peppiness in a believable manner. She goes through the range of emotions while still never losing the character’s essential personality and energy. Escobar’s defining moment would have to be at the end of the play, when Rachel has her final revelation and tears are streaming down her face; she captures an indescribably emotion of both joy and despair that truly encompasses the overall feeling of the play.
“Reckless” features six different and equally funny therapists, all played by Erika Lee. Anyone who has ever seen a therapist can understand the humor that lies in each stereotypical imitation of different types of “therapy.” Kane Anderson was also supremely entertaining as an annoyed and over-exuberant game-show host.
Last but not least, the stage setup was definitely innovative and interesting, as the chairs, beds, and car seats revolved on a sliding track that allowed for quick, often immediate set changes.
Overall, “Reckless” it is a great holiday play, especially for people who are bored to death of the usual holiday fuzz balls.