The Huntington University Theatre Department sure tackled a doozy of a play with “Reckless.” This brain-buster of a show will leave all of the pensive-minded satisfied with an excessive dose of puzzling and challenging subjects and thoughts. For those looking for a purely comedic performance with light and fluffy subject matters, heed my warning and turn back now.
You’ll definitely want to bring your thinking caps to this show, but as I found, while the show is definitely hearty in subject matter, the cast managed to deliver enough comic relief to help wash it down. Lindsay Hoops-Siewert has once again delivered a stunning performance, and her character, Rachel, was no easy, static character. One minute she was talking your ear off, the next minute she was contemplating her tragedies and misfortunes. Her performance, nevertheless, was always full of energy and expression.
While Siewert had me in stitches most of the night from her wild ramblings and her constant jokes, not all of the characters had me laughing. In fact, Kyle Lindsey’s performance as Tom Junior had me holding back tears near the end of the show. His vulnerability was not only endearing but also moving. I had to stop breathing and blinking to keep my tears from rolling down my cheeks.
Another moment of breathlessness came during a scene featuring Joshua Cookingham who, as usual, delivered a solid performance. Near the end as he lashed out at Siewert’s character, I nearly flew out of my seat. I was not expecting so much rage and emotion to come from him, and yet it was so relieving to see the vulnerability and the honesty pour out of him. It felt therapeutic for me as an audience member because it felt like no one was being honest in the show. I seemed to rejoice in this milestone with the characters.
This investment is a testament to the believability of the characters. For the most part, all of the characters were well developed.
I wish I could say all went flawlessly, which most of it, I felt, did, but one thing I would recommend for all viewers with hearing problems is to turn up your hearing aids. Most of the cast, especially Cookingham, you could hear flawlessly, but some of the characters I found myself leaning in closely to hear their soft voices get helplessly gobbled up by the stage.
One actress who proved that speaking and line delivery are not all a character has to offer was newcomer Makenna Belt. While I wasn’t completely sold on her character at first, as she kept performing, I absolutely fell in love with her character. Her charming facial expressions and sweet smile eventually won me over. I must say I was very critical of her character because I live with a paraplegic father and have taken three years of American Sign Language, and I was so impressed with her ability to keep her lower half still. Belt’s signing was absolutely impeccable as well, and it was flawless from what I can remember. She didn’t move her feet, legs, or hips at all, which added to the believability of her character. To Belt I say, “Bravo.”
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the show even though I left in an extremely pensive and tortured mood. This play is definitely challenging, but the cast did an extraordinary job at lightening the load with their comedic lines and gestures.
For anyone interested in seeing the show, tickets are on sale in the Merillat Center for the Arts Box Office, and you can purchase them at the door as well. Seating is limited as the performance is in the Studio Theatre, so you will want to order your tickets quickly. “Reckless” will run at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 to March 2 and March 6 to 9. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinee showing on March 2. Tickets are $5 for HU students, $9 for HU faculty and staff, $10 for seniors and $12.