Crimes of the Heart

Crimes of the Heart

Crimes of the Heart
By Beth Hurley
Directed by Aradhana Tiwari
Starring Meggin Weaver, Jennifer Bonner, and Britni Leslie
Beth Marshall Presents at The garden Theatre, Winter Garden, FL

Small town living is hard on your sex life for two reasons: The dating pool is small, and everyone knows who’s making goo-goo eyes at whom. It’s doubly hard for Lenny (Weaver) who’s shy, rather plain, and committed to nursing her grandfather into the grave. The rest of her family isn’t much use – Meg (Bonner) ran off to have a mediocre singing career, Cousin Chick (Beth Marshall) bosses her around while making White Trash Pride an art form, mom hung both herself and her cat, and now little sister Babe (Leslie) just shot her husband since she doesn’t like his looks. “Get ’em up a tree and then throw rocks ’em,” is an old writers saying, and Lenny’s batting away boulders by this point.

There are a few men in this story, but they’re just an afterthought. Young lawyer Barnett Lloyd (Jason Horne) shows up at the end of the first act and rescues the story. He’s bombastic and self important, but comes as a welcome relief to the anguished fretting. Bonner’s Meg sleeps around like she’s in a country music song and seduces her old flame Doc (William Hagaman). Doc seems confused by how women work, but a bottle of Jack is all it takes to straighten him out. There’s even hope for uptight Lenny, she revives an old flame she once rejected because she had small ovaries.

While there’s Tennessee Williams grade sin and debauchery in “Crimes of the Heart”, but the juicy and sinful story line fades away as the sisters reconcile. A death in the family removes at least one burden from the sisters, and a surprise chocolate cake does the rest. Lenny steps out of her shell, chases Chick out of the house, calls up her old boyfriend, and reconciles with her sisters, but I was left wondering if the deal Barnett struck would actually work.

The action moves quickly once we figure out what the real story is, and the elaborate and detailed set by Tommy Mangeri sets us clearly in the mid sixties in the Mississippi delta. “Crimes” is a classic Date Show – bring along a native guide to explain the curious rituals of femininity or you’ll continue believing men are only here to lift boxes and squish bugs.

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