BWW Review: BED Provides An Ingenious Set and Staging For Troubled Relationships

BED/by Sheila Callaghan/directed by Jennifer Chambers/Atwater Village Theatre/thru March 13, 2016

Those fascinated in viewing the everyday life of a Courtney Love-esque rock star might find Echo Theatre Company's world premiere of playwright Sheila Callaghan's BED captivating and involving. Those interested in sympathetic characters to spend an hour and a half with might have their patience/attention more tested.

Jennifer Chambers ably directs her hard working cast covering a 10-year span of rock star Holly's life. Kate Morgan Chadwick fully commits to inhabiting Holly - the troubled, brash, unlikeable, talented artisté. Chadwick imbues Holly with lots of energy and enthusiasm; Holly having no senses, either of herself or common. Chadwick has a few short opportunities (over-miked original songs by Sophocles Papavasilopoulos and Maxwell Gualtieri) to exhibit her solid vocal chops.

TW Leshner's quite sympathetic as Cliff, the one-night stand who falls in love with Holly, marries her, raises a daughter with her and loses his own way in life. Johnathan McClain enters much later as JC, Cliff's not-above-board brother whose arrangement with Holly sets off the inevitable, but completely wrapped in absurdity show-down.

Holly and Cliff's chemistry-less relationship's quite puzzling as it speeds from first time sex to raising their little girl. Possibly the lots of great sex (hidden from audience eyes underneath the covers) could be the reason they were drawn together and keeps them together.

Kudos to scenic designer Se Oh for his ingenious bed set piece amidst the cluttered bedroom. Articles of clothing scattered everywhere appearing haphazardly, but actually strategically placed, make for smooth donning of clothing and time transitions. Appearing and disappearing under the covers (via a hidden trapdoor in the bed), the men switch places, the three actors change costumes and positions, all while seamlessly advancing the play. A very nice, inspired staging by Chambers.

BTW, those allergic to cigarette smoking might have to pass on this BED.

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From This Author Gil Kaan