Moore Moore Moore 

An actress channels a TV icon at the Firehouse.

The play opens on Christmas Eve in the bedroom of Rachel (McCall) and Tom (David Boren). Rachel rambles from subject to subject as Tom simmers silently. Finally, in a burst of emotion, he admits to hiring a hit man to kill her.

Rachel makes a run for it in her bathrobe and slippers. At a gas station, she meets Lloyd (Justin Dray). She passively accompanies this strange man back to his home where he introduces Rachel to his girlfriend Pooty (Hayley Raphael), who is deaf, mute and paraplegic. Lloyd and Pooty convince Rachel to stay with them. Soon, she's working at her first job as an office assistant in a nonprofit agency.

Though the plot careens though a series of unexpected twists and turns, the script is surprisingly inert. There isn't enough absurdity to overcome the numerous breaks in logic and storytelling. However, thanks to McCall's sensitive performance and Morrie Piersol's direction, the play is satisfying and ends up at a warm place in the final scene.

Justin Dray is an unexpected surprise as Lloyd. It's the kind of role that you might expect to elicit scenery-chewing. But Dray dials his performance back half a turn and it makes all the difference. His modulated approach here generates more sympathy than many of his past efforts.

There should be a law against including a psychiatrist as a character in a play. Not only have such characters become hackneyed to the nth degree, it's almost always a sign that the playwright doesn't trust the audience and insists on spelling out the theme in dialogue. In this case, Lucas is a repeat offender — he includes six different doctors in six different cities. Mary Sue Carroll's clever characterizations of the doctors keep the device from becoming tiresome.

Amanda Russcol's set is not extravagant, but it does the job. Catherine Peckinpaugh Vrtis' lighting design includes too many blackouts for a contemporary production. A more fluid design would have contrasted nicely with all of the brilliant double and triple takes in McCall's performance.

Problems aside, McCall makes this show worth seeing. Only one thing could have made her performance more entertaining: an opportunity to squeal, "Oh, Mr. Grant." S

"Reckless" continues through Nov. 20 at Firehouse Theatre Project, 1609 W. Broad St. Tickets cost $20, call 355-2001.

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