The House of Yes, Treehouse Theatre Company, at Chicago Dramatists. The family in Wendy MacLeod’s play is as twisted as any in a genre that also includes Buried Child, Coyote Ugly, and The Homecoming. When Marty Pascal brings his fiancee home one Thanksgiving weekend, she discovers that his twin sister, Jackie-O, has a morbid interest in assassinations (she once went to a costume ball as a blood-spattered Jacqueline Kennedy) and a pathological lust for Marty. Both obsessions are cheerfully indulged by their amoral little brother, Anthony, and the alcohol-sodden Mrs. Pascal.

Such deviant behavior–perhaps also including patricide–might be deemed more likely under conditions of poverty and isolation than in the Pascals’ situation: they’re the cream of Washington society, neighbors to the Kennedys. But they have the money to conceal the coddled daughter’s sociopathic fantasies. Or so we must assume, since MacLeod’s characters are so cartoonishly broad that they leave an annoying number of blank spaces between some otherwise competently written scenes.

Treehouse director Rachel Chaves and her cast refuse to play this material as farce, however. Instead they give MacLeod’s superficial personalities so much solemn compassion and subtextual depth that our sympathies are engaged despite the play’s creepy, implausible, and ultimately unsatisfying resolution.

–Mary Shen Barnidge