ICE CREAM, Feral Theatre Company, at Eastwick Art Gallery. America and Great Britain: two countries divided by a common language. Caryl Churchill’s sharp and witty Ice Cream explores the truth of this old quip–but not the way the misguided folks at Feral Theatre play it. They miss all of her subtlety. Her perceptive eye, her perfect ear, her exquisite verbal wit–all of her careful work creating characters that are at once believable and ever so slightly cartoonish is lost in director Tim O’Shea’s messy, over-the-top production.

Lines are bellowed, and actors gesture wildly. Worse, O’Shea turns Churchill’s Brechtian use of titles at the top of each scene into an excuse to have an actress dressed like a chorus girl swivel out at the beginning holding aloft the scene’s title, looking for all the world like a stripper at a boxing match. And this in a play that’s noteworthy for its terrific, unstereotyped female characters.

–Jack Helbig