Reckless | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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RECKLESS, Blindfaith Theatre, at the Heartland Studio Theater. Craig Lucas's screwy play, about a woman who launches into a crazy journey of self-discovery after she learns that her husband hired someone to kill her, is definitely flawed. Packed with eccentric characters living oddball lives, the play should be both funnier and more moving than it actually is.

Yet flawed productions bring out the best in Reckless. A polished, big-budget show only seems to heighten the play's missteps and undeveloped ideas--indeed, Reckless flopped at Steppenwolf in the late 80s. But give the play to a poor, struggling company, let them cast it with their friends just out of theater school (a few of whom will one day be great actors), and perform it in a ratty black-box space too small to have its own bathroom, and it blossoms. Maybe this production's many imperfections--snow that looks like strips of paper, a box with an antenna that's supposed to be a TV--prepare us for the myriad glitches in Lucas's script.

Or maybe director Nick Minas has found the secret to making Reckless work: actors who are good enough to learn their lines but not so good they'll "plumb" Lucas's paper-thin characters. Rachael Harrell, for example, took a good half act to relax into her role as the beleaguered housewife, but by the end of the play she made me care about her character's plight--and her transformation--in a way I've never done before. --Jack Helbig

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