Originally entitled Hellcab Does Christmas and marketed as a hip antiholiday holiday show, Will Kern’s incredibly black comedy about a day in the life of a poor beleaguered cab driver was never, strictly speaking, a holiday show. Even though Kern’s slice-of-life play is set on Christmas Eve, the when of his story doesn’t matter nearly as much as its where: a typical city cab. Which may explain why seven weeks after Christmas the show is every bit as biting and funny as it was four weeks before. And why the folks at Famous Door have shortened the title to just plain Hellcab and moved the show to their late night. Based on Kern’s experiences as a cab driver, Hellcab presents in a series of short, strikingly real blackouts the motley crew of druggies, drunks, and assholes who pass through the Hellcab on an average day. Two months into the run Paul Dillon’s grumbling portrayal of the hapless cabbie remains fresh. Again and again, as Dillon bounces from one humiliating experience to another, from the couple who make love in the backseat to obnoxious New Yorkers who insist on shouting obscenities from the cab, you can read on Dillon’s pained expression the message of the play: work is a bitch and then you go home. Famous Door Theatre Company, Jane Addams Center Hull House, 3212 N. Broadway, 404-8283. Open run: Fridays, 10:30 PM, Saturdays, 11:30 PM. $6; cab drivers free.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lee Newell.