Criminal Hearts

Thelma and Louise meet on opposite ends of the barrel in Criminal Hearts, a remarkable collision between a whiny, delusional socialite (Andrea Nelson) and the bungling burglar (Devin Rodger) who bitch-slaps her back to reality. Thrown out on her Gucci-clad ass by her womanizing husband (Martyn Krouse), agoraphobic Ata (Nelson) self-medicates with Dr. Pepper and various OCDs until Bo (Rodger) furnishes the ninny with that potent symbol of female empowerment: the handgun. Don’t let the clichéd title fool you—this is actually a play with a brain. Almost too much, at points, as playwright Jane Martin occasionally stumbles into proselytizing against egocentric Western capitalism. Nelson brings a pulse to the top-heavy monologues with comic flair, while Rodger’s reinvention of the lone gunslinger as a street thug in a skirt (complete with a Brooklyn-ish accent) is a beautiful foil for Ata’s relentless TMI. Under Liz Moisan’s direction, the cast layers Martin’s dense, brutally lyrical dialogues with a raw believability. The production’s claustrophobic staging also forces the audience into uncomfortable proximity with Ata’s suffocating mental cage. JENNA NAND

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: July 24. Continues through Aug. 15, 2009

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