“Lost Girls,” which opened Monday at MCC’s Lucille Lortel Theatre Off Broadway, is best experienced in retrospect. Two of John Pollono’s characters aren’t who we assume they are for most of the play’s 90 minutes.
While “Lost Girls” might be better appreciated knowing who’s who from the top, fear not: The twist will not be revealed here.
Three actresses are the “girls” of the title, and even though they’re from different generations of the same family, each of their characters exhibits an insistent, nihilistic, self-centered, foul-mouthed disdain for everything and everybody around them. Did I forget to mention they’re all pissed off, too?
It’s too bad that some of their negativity didn’t rub off on Pollono when, about 10 minutes before the play’s abrupt end, the young mother Maggie (Piper Perabo) experiences a gooey epiphany about life.
Her daughter (Lizzy Declement) has been missing for a few days. Maggie and her unemployed live-in mother (Tasha Lawrence) want to kill the girl, but are so happy to have her back at home that they’ll wait until tomorrow to punish her.
Perabo, Lawrence, and Declement give evidence of sharing the same vengeful bloodline. But director Jo Bonney needs to lighten up their performances. An ex-husband (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and a boyfriend (Josh Green) are so verbally battered and shat on by these women that they could qualify for FEMA.
On the other hand, Bonney allows Meghann Fahy, playing the ex-husband’s new wife, to be overly sweet and dumb in the face of the other women’s contempt.
Only Moss-Bachrach (equally good in last season’s “Verite”) emerges as an oasis of humanity in “Lost Girls,” even though his husband-father-cop character almost accidentally killed somebody a few years ago.
This kitchen sink runneth over.