Sexy Bad Behavior in ‘BED’ at the Echo Theatre Company

BED gia on the move theatre reviews

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

There was a little girl,
            Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
            When she was good,
            She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

If suffering from a chronically lonely life is any excuse at all for behaving badly, it’s the free pass that lead-character Holly (played by Kate Morgan Chadwick) gives herself every time there is a crisis. It’s true she’s a musical genius, attractively eccentric, loves being fed, cries occasionally after sex when she feels vulnerable, has itching fits in the middle of REM cycles, doesn’t talk to her family and doesn’t like to be controlled.

 “I’m a really bad person and at some point I’m going to need you to punish me for it. So let’s be clear.”  And she means it.

The emotional roller coaster ride in BED, now extended at the Echo Theatre Company in Atwater Village, advances an incredibly heightened level of atrocious right from the “bang” opening of the show with Holly struggling along the floor to reach her covers.  The series of “fucking” scenes inside one of the most creatively invented and used-on-stage, mounted mattresses, is all the bad it can be, with one caveat — the entire show is so stellar, you won’t be able to take your eyes, ears or gut away, no matter how racy, abominable, fallacious or downright squirmy it gets.

Holly does what others are not willing to do and does it fully.  It might be because she’s got nothing to feel. Having one’s father commit a horrific sex act on them is pretty sick and traumatic enough to live in a sort of numb denial, expressing the creative and emotional self strictly through the scrim of personal chaos.

When Cliff ( played by TW Leshner) crawls into her life and her bed, Holly’s world turns in a direction she is mostly unwilling to travel.  He’ll be floating on a raft of trepidation that she will always be tugging at if she doesn’t marry him.  Against all her better judgement she does.  But with a warning.

There are attempts to be good, living a mostly normal life with a husband who supports her and encourages her, although he forgets to do so for himself.  And having a daughter is the hope even Holly thinks might raise her from the depths of her own depravity. 

“Having you has made me scandalously beautiful.”

“Eat the world girlie!”

Here is a prayer for you, “Give me the strength to give you the strength to amplify forever.”

But nothing can cure the impotence of Holly and Cliff’s marriage.  Not even an affair.  This “love story” is doomed to fail but for the willingness to accept Holly’s nature.

BED gia on the move theatre reviews

BED  is layered with a bewildering, raw, sexy, ugly charm that explains nothing and yet sums up relationships in the most dazzling of ways.  Sheila Callaghan has written a deliciously complicated, unforgettable mess.  Impeccably directed by Jennifer Chambers.  Kate Morgan Chadwick, TW Leshner, and Johnathan McClain intensely and irresistibly edge out this performance.

Notable to mention is the original music by Sophocles Papavasilopoulos and Maxwell Gualtieri, in this show which is far and above some of the best you’ll hear in a staged production this year.

Written by Sheila Callaghan
Original music by Sophocles Papavasilopoulos and Maxwell Gualtieri
Directed by Jennifer Chambers
Starring Kate Morgan Chadwick, TW Leshner and Johnathan McClain
Produced by Emyli Gudmundson and Tara Karsian
Presented by The Echo Theater Company, Chris Fields artistic director

Copyright © 2016 Gia On The Move

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator”.

%d bloggers like this: