Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lost Girls ***

It’s almost exactly two years since John Pollono’s play “Small Engine Repair” made a big splash at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. That testosterone-driven tale of three working stiffs in Manchester, NH and the college boy who crossed their path packed quite a wallop. (And it made my 10 best play list for 2013.) The new play, also produced by MCC Theater, could almost serve as a bookend. We are back among the working class in southern New Hampshire, but this time it’s the women who hold center stage. During a nor’easter that has made driving perilous, sharp-tongued Maggie (Piper Perabo), who is struggling to hang onto a place in the lower middle class, discovers that her 10-year-old Honda is missing. When she reports the theft to the police, they alert her cop ex-husband Lou (Ebon Moss-Bacharach) who turns up uninvited with his annoyingly perky second wife Penny (Meghann Fahy). Linda (Tasha Lawrence), Maggie’s equally foul-mouthed mother, who lives with her, repeatedly demonstrates her skill at getting under people’s skin. It turns out that the car thief is none other than Maggie and Lou’s teenage daughter. The set rotates from Maggie’s modest house to a motel room in Connecticut where we meet a pair of high school classmates who have run off together. More specifically, the brassy girl (Lizzy Declement) has talked the innocent boy (Josh Green) into driving her to Florida for a rendezvous with her much older boyfriend. He has reluctantly agreed because he has been smitten with her since second grade. The scenes alternate between Maggie’s house and the motel room. Maggie and Lou learn that the Honda has been involved in a major highway accident, but the power goes out before they can learn how their daughter is. Back at the motel, things have turned romantic. I won’t reveal the outcome except to say that there is a tricky development near the end that I have mixed feelings about. Two of three theater-savvy friends who attended the same performance missed it, so I think director Jo Bonney needs to do something to make the ending clearer. I wish the actors didn't need to struggle so hard with the New England accent. Richard Hoover’s revolving set and Theresa Squire’s costumes capture the correct ambience. While this play is not as good as “Small Engine Repair,” it’s consistently involving and entertaining. Running time: 95 minutes, no intermission.

No comments: