The Last Good Moment of Lily Baker | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Last Good Moment of Lily Baker 

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THE LAST GOOD MOMENT OF LILY BAKER, Mary-Arrchie Theatre. It would be a challenge for any company to make Russell Davis's atrophied play engaging, given the playwright's penchant for excessive exposition and his jumbled point-and-click style, which jumps from Hollywood melodrama to TV sitcom to metaphor-soaked naturalism with slight regard for structural integrity. While Kay Martinovich's actors maintain a smart pace for two hours, they often confuse acting with naive earnestness: when Lily and husband Bob arrive at the bed-and-breakfast where they honeymooned 15 years before, they spend so much time remembering past Monopoly games, looking through old photos, and cooing on the bed that one wonders if the play will ever start.

It finally kicks into gear when Bob's boyhood rival Sam and his trophy wife Molly arrive. But unfortunately Davis tries to elevate the childish insecurities of two unlikable men to the level of tragedy while he leaves the compelling, emotionally numbed title character to kvetch and stare vacantly. The performances are generally strong, with next-big-thing Mary Mares as the trophy wife turning in typically superlative work. Like Lily, Molly is a far more sophisticated creation than her cartoonish big-businessman husband. If only Davis had focused on the women.

--Justin Hayford


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