The bed is our most formidable arena.
And two people in bed alone are never really by themselves.
Bed by Sheila Callaghan, is a slight piece of sexual fluff which nevertheless conveys an intoxicating freshness in both writing and acting that lifts it above expectations to win over the audience.
Holly (Kate Morgan Chadwick) is a hard drinking, guitar pounding, *******.
Cliff (TW Leshner) is a puppy eyed one-night stand whose sincerity wins some staying power.
From “wham-bam” to “married with child” follows, but on the road to “happily ever after” our young lovers are hijacked by reality: money-problems, commitment woes, creative angst, a strike from that mercurial viper success, infidelity and, beneath it all, the fast flowing current of Holly’s memories of her childhood molestation at the hands of a family member.
Callaghan has presented well-chiseled characters here and armed them with the snapping, crackling and popping dialogue that landed her a writer/producer slot on Showtime.
Director Jennifer Chambers moves the play at a brisk clip, and accommodates, skillfully, the play’s main device of having the “Bed” dominating center stage and using the area beneath its sheets as the primary entrance and exit for the actors.
The nature of the scenes, have an autobiographical sense about them, as if Callaghan was sending us postcards from home. They are believable to a point.
It is always hard to show genius on stage, and Callaghan falters some there, though Chadwick holds up her half of the obligation nicely. Another point is where Callaghan fuses her own “happily ever after” ending on the piece, one that is bought all too cheaply by her characters.
But this does not detract too much from the strengths of the script and none at all from the performances. Chadwick and Leshner achieve staggering moments of genuineness and vulnerability, and Chadwick hit some emotional high kicks with great aplomb.
Johnathan McClain as the snake in this Eden slithers nicely.
Probably not the best theatre you’ve ever seen.
But fun, clever, and skillfully staged.
And in a season that seems to be having a very slow start, the first ray of hope there are better things to come.
♦ ♦ ♦
Bed presented by The Echo Theater Company
Where: Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave, Atwater Village, CA 90039
When: on now thru March 13 ( see times and dates below)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 5 (preview), 12, 19, 26; March 4, March 11
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 6 (opening night), 13, 20, 27; March 5, 12
• Sundays at 4 p.m.: Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28; March 6, 13
• Sundays at 7 p.m.: Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28; March 6, 13
For Tickets and Information:
• Call 310-307-3753 or go to www.EchoTheaterCompany.com