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What would holidays be without family to ruin them? In Nicky Silver’s blistering domestic comedy Fit to Be Tied, filthy-rich young Arloc (Scott Bradley) has finally kidnapped the man of his dreams—an angel, no less, from the Radio City Christmas Spectacular—but unfortunately, it’s on the very day his mother finally decides to leave her dullard husband and move in with him. Cut out of her late husband’s will, mom Nessa (Charlotte Akin) has been living off the largess of her son and that of Carl (Jim Jorgensen), the fitness-freak second husband whose controlling Puritanism has finally driven her over the edge and across town. When Arloc agrees to go fetch her luggage, she meets the object of his affection, Boyd the angel (Keith Lubeley), who’s just been secured in an S&M chair (“I ordered it from a catalog,” Arloc tells him as he ties the ropes) when Nessa arrives. It’s not a Norman Rockwell painting, but can these crazy kids make their new family work? The genius of Silver’s writing is that the characters know they’re losers but believe themselves to be lovable nevertheless. Arloc does nothing with his life but read, write, go for walks, and obsess about Boyd. Contemplating her single future, Nessa tells her son, “I have no skills. I’m ornamental. I could be a paperweight.” As for her parenting skills, she tries to guilt Arloc into letting her move in with him by saying, “I’ve been there for you. At times.” Even Carl, distraught at Nessa’s departure, is trying to kill himself—not with pills, but with red meat. Director Kerri Rambow rises to the challenge of keeping the characters from degenerating into stereotypes; in this regard, Akin has the thinnest line to walk. Her Nessa could easily be a whiny, demanding cliché, but Akin wins sympathy for her child-woman discovering the world anew in middle age. You believe her when she looks at her hands, as if for the first time, marveling that it seems as if she were wearing gloves: “Tweed gloves. A size too large.” Lubeley, meanwhile, manages to flesh out even the victim role to reveal a well of neediness that compels him to make his captors love him. The Fountainhead Theatre’s production is busy but serviceable: Stefan Gibson’s crowded set is highlighted by a faux Matisse (constructed by Ian LeValley), which puts Arloc’s fortune into perspective; and Jessie Crain’s lighting emphasizes the characters’ confessions to the audience with bright spotlights. Silver is the true star of the evening, however. He keeps the laughs coming from lights up to lights out, and always to the credit of his characters, not at their expense.—Janet Hopf