A particularly wise florist in Jillian Crane’s witty wedding-blues comedy High Ceilings hits it right on the head: “The thing about climbing a ladder is, you can’t reach the next rung up until you let go of the one you’re on.” With that in mind, the first-time playwright, who’s had success as an actress in Los Angeles, turns her own experiences loose on the stage in a zesty comedy now playing at the Hayworth Theatre.
Playing bride-to-be Lilly, she arrives back in her Midwestern home with enough baggage to sink a battleship. Her father (Patrick Pankhurst) deserted the family when she was young but for his daughter’s wedding, he’s managed to stagger naked across a highway in an alcoholic stupor and spend most of the play passed out. Her mother (Jill Jacobson) is an unapologetic diva who drips more sex than a sloshed cheerleader on prom night. Her brother (David Shalansky) is a “life coach” who’s heavily dependent on Xanax, and last but not least there’s Lilly’s hapless fiancé (John Kassir), who’s finding out the hard way that the toughest competitor for a woman’s love can sometimes be her father.
In finding out that Dad wasn’t the man of her dreams that she thought he was, Lilly finally manages to reach for that next rung up but it takes some pretty dramatic steps to get there. Enlivened by witty banter and shot through with some hard-found truths, High Ceilings is a strong, first effort for someone taking on new risks and challenges.
“High Ceilings” performs at the Hayworth Theater (2511 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057) now through November 8th, Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm and 3pm on Sundays. Tickets are $25 and are available at www.thehayworth.com or by calling (800) 838-3006.