Saturday, April 19, 2008
What do The Pillowman's insane fiction, the gushing angst of From Up Here, and the sublime grace of 100 Saints You Should Know all have in common? Nothing. But the best of all three plays is present in Catherine Treischmann's superb new play, crooked, which, for all the twists in plot, never has the characters do anything but go straight for the heart. As Maribel, Carmen M. Herlihy excels as a fragile, isolated girl whose holds onto religion as a necessity: invisible stigmata make her important (and keep her from self-cutting), and Hell is the place where people like Deedee Cummings will rot for being so mean. It's a view of religion that can't be easily dismissed, and a character that can't be summed up with a one-dimensional adjective. She is joined also by the masterful Cristin Milioti, who plays Laney with such a desperate need for approval that even she is startled by her rebirth as a "Holiness Lesbian," and by Betsy Aidem, who makes Elise, Laney's mom, so solidly pragmatic that she's hardly recognizable a few glasses of wine later. Director Liz Diamond finds ways to enhance the magical world we live in, but she never strays from the electric realism of the play. What are you waiting for? Get bent!