A NEW PERSPECTIVE: Susan (Sara Luna) turns her sister's life upside down in 'Collapse.'

The new show at Renegade Theatre Experiment, Collapse, is a darkly comic play by Allison Moore that focuses on a day in the life of a miserable couple in Minneapolis who, through a series of bizarre coincidences and events, resolve the issues between them. The play opens with David standing over his half-nude wife, Hannah, hypodermic needle in hand, debating their plans to attend a support group and visit a doctor who might help with their ongoing fertility problems. Suddenly, Hannah’s rebellious sister appears at their door with a suspicious package and no intentions of leaving.

From there on, the plot is relatively predictable: frantic conversations among the characters, each with his or her own problems barely bubbling beneath the surface; a neurotic wife; a husband masking one illness with another; and a gregarious but eerie stranger who seduces Hannah.

It’s all interesting enough, yet, somehow, it adds up to an obligatory string of coincidences that ultimately results in a weak resolution of what should be complex marital and existential issues. Those underlying themes hold too much depth to be fully explored in a 90-minute comedy.

Fortunately, the actors do this play more justice than it deserves, traveling through it in a frenetic, funny and sardonic manner that is pleasantly surprising in its little twists and jabs at modern culture. The crew does a tremendous job of wringing out the subtleties of commonly recycled characters: the lawyer wife (played by Alika Ululani Spencer) is a babbling, micro-managing mess, but her emotional strife and desperation seem remarkably sincere. Her husband, David (David Scott), is a despondent, practically emasculated victim of an accident that has trapped him in his own anxieties. He sulks about the set with the broken, passive look brought on by a truly dreadful existence. The sister, Susan (Sara Luna), is the stock rebellious sibling, who shows up unannounced with only vague explanations for her arrival, but she provides refreshing relief in the moments of tension between the couple.

The standout character is Ted (Sean C. Murphy), an eloquent stranger who meets Hannah when she mistakes a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting for AA. Murphy makes him serious and wry and whimsical in his chat with a manic Hannah, entrancing both her and the audience, and planting doubt about both his background and motive. The company has talent to burn, and Collapse is worth seeing just for that.

Collapse
ThursdaySaturday, 8pm, Sunday, 7pm, through Sept. 29
$12.50-$27.50
Historic Hoover Theater