TheatreWorks’ Crimes of the Heart: Sweet, Charming, Fantastic
I saw a show at Theatreworks last night that not only had me laughing, but completely kept my mind off politics for two and a half hours. The show is worth the price of admission just for that.
But aside from that. Crimes of the Heart is playing at the Mountain View Center of Performing Arts, and they have done a stupendous job. This is the story of three adult sisters who must come together at their Southern family home after one has been arrested for shooting her husband. The eldest sister is neurotic Lenny, turning 30 that very day and well on her way to coming an old maid. Middle sister Meg has come in from Hollywood where she claims she’s been making it big as a singer. And then the youngest, pretty Babe, who is insisting she shot her husband purely because she didn’t like “his stinkin’ looks”.
The sisters try to suss out exactly what happened between Babe and her husband with the help of young lawyer Barnette Lloyd (Joshua Marx). Mr. Lloyd has a little crush on Babe and also a lifelong vendetta against her husband. Cousin Chick (Laura Jane Bailey) pops in and out, and she has her own longstanding issues with the sisters. And then there’s Doc Porter (Timothy Redmond) whose heart had been crushed by Meg when they were young.
The show is sweet and it is charming. It walks up to the line of tragedy and then pulls back and has you in tears from laughing. The sisters are played by three incredible actors: Therese Plaehn (Lenny), Sarah Moser (Meg) and Lizzie O’Hara (Babe). The characters could easily veer into over-the-top portrayals, but these women hold tight and present amazingly real and tender yet hilarious performances. No matter what any sister has done, no matter what happens, you see and believe there is an unbreakable family bond of love between them.
There were a few other unsung stars of this show. Andrea Bechert is the Scenic Designer, and the Mississippi home where the play is set was just incredible in detail, and an unfathomable amount of work was put into it. Cathleen Edwards was the costume designer and did an excellent job of dressing every one of the characters according to the time (1974), place and status of each. And because the entire show was fantastic, much applause must be given to director Giovanna Sardelli.
We all need a break now and then. This weekend I really needed the happy escape from reality that I found at TheatreWorks. If you need a moment to take your mind off world events or life in general, I definitely recommend you see this show, and the amazing women who star in it.