By Catherine TrieschmannCrooked by Catherine Trieschmann at Rivendell theatre

Directed by Sandy Shinner

At Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Chicago

Mother – daughter relationship drama has unique twists

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble finds terrific female oriented plays to mount and their latest, Crooked by Catherine Trieschmann is a story of a mother – daughter relationship with a strange twist. This is work that seems to capture the angst between a 14 year old girl and her distraught mother. From a man’s point of view, Crooked plays out as loads of  arguing between Laney (Rae Gray), a imaginative high school freshman trying to fit in at her new Oxford, Mississippi school and her motherl. During the constant bickering , Elise (Tara Mallen), the mother, tries to both guide and control Laney through the adjustment to a new life without the father in a new location.

Crooked by Catherine Trieschmann

Laney writes imaginative short stories filled with gore and horror that Elise tries to soften through literary criticism. Elise has her own problems as she is unemployed and lonely since she divorced her mentally ill husband now in a psychiatric  hospital. The two find little comfort in each other.

Crooked by Catherine Trieschmann

Laney, now afflicted  by a muscle disorder called dystonia, which gives her a hump on her back, is shunned by her new school mates. She finds comfort in creating short stories. She meets and befriends Maribel (Hannah Gomez), plus-sized naive, good-hearted religious fanatic 16 year old. Maribel’s religious furor incites Laney’s rebellious nature. Maybe religion could be her refuge?  Add her twisted sexual tensions and she declares that she she is “a holiness lesbian!”

Laney’s journey to reinvent herself is filled with much humor, raw arguments and some poignantly tender moments of self discovery. Maribel is the empathetic emotional center of this three person show. Much happens during the fast paced 80 minute one act. Spiritual, sexual and self-acceptance conflict as Laney and Maribel battle their inner demons in an effort to find love and acceptance.  I’m sure that girls and mothers can relate to this well-written and expertly acted play better than I can. Hannah Gomez, Rae Gray, and Tara Mallen each gave strong and emotionally wrenching performances.Rivendell’s new space is spiffy.


Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: May 26, 2012

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout the Crooked page at

At Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge, Chicago, IL, call 773-334-7728,, tickets $28.50, $20 for seniors/students, Thursdays & Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 3 & 8 pm, running time is 80 minutes without intermission, through June 23, 2012

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