The dysfunctional baggage plaguing the Reardon sisters of Paul Zindel’s 1971 dark comedy “And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little” is commendably explored at the Dayton Theatre Guild.
Crisply staged by Debra Kent and set inside an eye-catching apartment designed by Jeff Sams and dressed by Wendi Michael, “Reardon,” an engaging tale that would have been better served as a one-act, steadily examines the betrayal, hardship and heartbreak between three sisters. Damaged by the absence of their father and the bruised memories of their recently deceased mother, they share a common link as educators but are truly disconnected. Like so many families burdened by emotional scars, the Reardons are stymied by their shared pain, wallowing in animosity instead of recognizing the benefits of growing closer and refining their relationship.
Teresa Connair as the uptight Ceil, Cassandra Engber as the hopelessly unstable Anna and Cheryl Mellen as sardonic alcoholic Catherine are a sharp, well-matched trio. With commanding ease they supply fully realized, nuanced assessments of their combative, peculiar characters, especially the dynamic Engber who nails Anna’s compelling anguish and zany hysterics.
Jennie Hawley and Michael Taint provide firm support as humorously overbearing dinner guests Fleur and Bob Stein. Amy Diederich as Mrs. Pentrano and Leo Santucci as Delivery Boy are suitable in extraneous roles.
“And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little” continues through Oct. 21 at the Dayton Theatre Guild, 430 Wayne Ave., Dayton. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Act One: 50 minutes; Act Two: 40 minutes. Tickets are $12-$19. Patrons are advised that the production contains live gunshot sounds and adult language. For tickets or more information, call (937) 278-5993 or visit www.daytontheatreguild.org.