We’re kicking off Giving Tuesday early this year! Your donation today will be matched up to $10K, doubling your impact! If you donate $50 today, the Reader will receive $100.

The Reader is now a community-funded nonprofit newsroom. Can we count on your support to help keep us publishing?

FAT MEN IN SKIRTS, Red Wolf Theatre Company, at Angel Island. Shock effects in the service of genuine pathos, Fat Men in Skirts offers grunge galore: lipstick eating, throat cutting, baby munching. No question, Nicky Silver’s twisted domestic drama still detonates a ton of anger–at mother love that turns carnivorous and father love eroded by infidelity.

A plane crash strands shoe fetishist Phyllis and Bishop, her stuttering preppy son, on a desert island. After whining up a storm, Phyllis goes bonkers. Losing his stutter, Bishop turns feral and becomes a mother-obsessed murderer. Both succumb to cannibalism and incest. Mom and kid return to find dad shacked up with his pregnant mistress, a drugged-out porn starlet. Serial killer Bishop gets committed and has a marginally redemptive love affair with a schizophrenic cheerleader. He blames his craziness on the monkeys on the island. We know better.

Unlike Torso Theatre’s anything-for-a-gag 1993 production, Maura Elizabeth Manning’s revival (featuring nifty slide illustrations) digs beneath the gross-outs to uncover the play’s dead-end desperation: every good impulse gets twisted into violence. Susan Block turns fashion victim Phyllis into a monster-making mother, Andrew Whatley’s athletic Bishop fairly explodes from mama’s boy into sociopath, and Matt Janes exudes phoniness as both the double-talking father and a shrink. An instant and constant delight, Paula Stevens depicts the bubbleheaded mistress and a sweet-tempered mental patient with equal gusto. This is primal comedy. –Lawrence Bommer