Exposure to excessive wealth warps reality for one member of a sister duo in Molly Smith Metzler's lively play. Hailing from blue-collar Buffalo, 20-something Simone (Melanie Lora) has fled to Martha's Vineyard to play personal assistant to Michaela (Katrina Lenk), an intensely neurotic, love-starved woman-child prone to fits of rage over minutiae. A visit from Simone's sister, Devon (a quick-witted Cassie Beck), a down-to-earth genius working at Olive Garden and living in her parents' basement, turns into a surreal romp through an amoral world in which money is God. As Devon bears baffled witness to her sister's sold soul, she stumbles through countless comic attempts to drag Simone from the increasingly ugly clutches of Michaela's opulent, deceit-filled life, only to find that Simone and her spoiled-brat boyfriend, Ethan (Jamison Jones), are arguably more despicable than Michaela. Metzler has a strong ear for dialogue and she brings a human touch to the sisters, scripting a loving bond balanced with authentic doses of judgment and jealousy. Her peripheral characters sometimes veer into caricature, and the message about money as a sinister force wears thin, but the sisterly love story with all its jagged edges is winning. Ralph Funicello's set nails Martha's Vineyard elite, and Lap Chi Chu's lighting nicely re-creates myriad beachfront hues. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; Tues.-Wed. & Sun., 7:30 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 26. (714) 708-5555, scr.org.
Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Feb. 3. Continues through Feb. 26, 2012