What do incest, Club Med and the phrase "I'm choking on your love" have in common? At least on Saturday night, they were all audience suggestions worked into the season two premiere of The Rich and the Reckless, an improvised stage show brought to you by the Stage 10 Theater Company that has all the look and drama of a 1980's soap opera. There are shoulder pads galore, lots of big hair and the piece de resistance, dramatic music timed perfectly to enhance every sultry sideways glance.
The mocu-series will continue through July, so if you plan to attend, here's what you need to know:
The actors find a way to weave wacky suggestions into a real soap story that's devised beforehand and continues from week to week, building just as any episodic would. Like any good soap, there are two prominent families, the Hamiltons and the McAllisters, who reside in the fictional ritzy town of Lennox Hill. As an audience member, you can tell which of their mansions you're in when the family portrait changes (assuming the stage hand in charge remembers to make the switch).
Of course, some love connections find a way to blossom through the fighting. Margo Hamilton, who was once in love with fringe character Austin Rex (fabulous soap name) is now after Faruk, who seems to be working through some PTSD leftover from a stint in Southeast Asia. See below.
Here's where it gets incestuous. Well, a little. Turns out Faruk may or may not have fathered Margo's brother Patch.
This rumor results in the first choking of the night by Margo's father, Alex Hamilton, after his wife Virginia confesses to her previous indiscretion with Faruk. This is, of course, just before she jets off to Club Med to be with her husband's brother Senator Clarke Hamilton, whom she's currently sleeping with.
Virginia may be in for a surprise, though, since the young Emily McCallister is already there.
The choking wasn't quite through for the night. "Choke me!" Faruk begged Margo. On his knees he decreed, "I'm choking on your love!"
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Sure, The Rich and the Reckless is over the top. It's supposed to be. They've mastered the art of the Zoolander-style "blue steel" mug to the audience. If you've been a fan of cheesy TV from any decade, this show is worth a look.
The Rich and the Reckless runs every Saturday night through July 16, with the exception of July 2. Ticket information here.