Theater review: Vivid female portrait...

Theater review: Vivid female portraits evoke emotional complexity in' Crimes of the Heart'

If merely yanking on a pair of pantyhose in full view of a theatergoing public can be considered a dramatic linchpin in and of itself, then give credit to playwright Beth Henley, who manages to turn just such a throwaway moment into a bold declaration of female unselfconsciousness in the opening moments of "Crimes of the Heart," her 1981 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. That comic yet winsome act belongs to Chick Boyle, the brazen, mouthy cousin to the three Magrath sisters at the center of "Crimes," as she shimmies into her hosiery with moves that seem defiant of Hazlehurst, Miss., yet somehow resigned to expectations of women that might persist in this small Southern enclave.

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