THINGS THAT GO MISSING, Curious Theatre Branch. Beau O'Reilly's scripts tend to feature type A personalities running circles around a character who's slightly out of step with the world: a henpecked introvert, a coolly rational observer, an easily agitated misanthrope. In this evening of three short plays, reportedly each written with a particular actor in mind, it's weird to see how well the leads portray a loner's fears and neuroses. O'Reilly takes on the quintessential O'Reilly role himself (playing opposite Rick Reardon) in the one-sided dialogue God Fucking Bless Henry Welles, while Matt Wilson grabs the baton in Rai's Place for Pie and Danne W. Taylor in Winfield's Place on a Friday.
The last is the most polished of the three, addressing the theme of failure O'Reilly also grappled with in the 2000 Not Only Sleeping; Taylor carries the play with his sensational turn as an anxious hermit. But Rai's Place for Pie--in which O'Reilly turns to his obsession with Americana--doesn't quite work, jumping from a decrepit diner in 1950 to the present day. And the linear story of God Fucking Bless Henry Welles has no payoff.
"Things That Go Missing" is a joy as an actors' showcase, but the plays hint at a significance that just isn't there. It's as if O'Reilly were simply passing time before revisiting his usual themes in a larger work--or three.