Theater has lots of scenes of drinks, dinners, and desserts full of people who make terrible guests.
You can add the quintet in Marc Anthony's The Booby Trap to that list. This is a broken family that has gathered on Christmas Eve not to celebrate the season, but to finally hammer out the status of wandering father Franklin's pension.
The title has a couple of different meanings here. The Booby Trap is the local strip club that connects several of the characters, while the title also embraces the more general sense of a way to capture someone in an attractive package.
Mind you, how attractive any of these characters are is really up to debate. The father is a philandering lush given to big speeches. The two sons have learned plenty from him, and most of it isn't good. They talk loudly, but never listen. Meanwhile the mother, Marcy, tries her hardest to get everyone to actually hear each other, while hoping that the casserole will be ready sometime before midnight.
It's uncomfortable with just the family, but when Russian immigrant Zina shows up, all bets are off. Zina, you see, is the mail-order bride for brother James, and the target of affection from Frank.
Anthony's play makes the most of all of the potential madness here. By the end of the show, the dinner table is littered with half-eaten food, brother Kieran is handcuffed to a chair, and the meal still hasn't started.
While there is a lot of bombast from Douglas Stewart, Matthew Kelly, and Greg Hernandez as the boys, the real heart of the play comes down to Victoria LaChelle as Zina, and especially Sarah Broude as Marcy, who shows us the silent heartbreak at the ruin of the family in beautifully subtle ways.
IF YOU GO:
The Booby Trap Through December 14 Nimbus Theatre 1517 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis $12-$15 Tickets available at the door or visit online to make reservations.