Posted inArts & Culture

Idol Threat

IDOL THREAT, ArtWorx Ensemble, at Angel Island. First staged at this year’s Around the Coyote Festival, Idol Threat is set in a not-too-distant future in which the government conducts an annual lottery for population control. The losers are immediately sacrificed to a mysterious idol, while the winners get to live another year–on borrowed time. In […]

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Fat!

Fat! Factory Theater. Usually the variety format is a recipe for the most disastrous kind of inconsistency. But luckily the sharp cast of Fat!–a hodgepodge of short gag scenes, longer sketches, and monologues sandwiched between musical numbers–attack the script with remarkable ferocity. Even the most strained moments in this revue are rendered humorous by good-natured […]

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Truth on Trial

Navy Pier Wax Lips Theatre Company at Strawdog Theatre By Nick Green When one of the characters in John Corwin’s Navy Pier describes air hockey in maxims that might have been culled from Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War, he magnifies a simple game into an intense, complex battle of skill, wit, and determination. Wax Lips […]

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Satan’s School for Girls

SATAN’S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, Circle Theatre. With a seemingly inexhaustible supply of innuendo and over-the-top sacrilege, Satan’s School for Girls has a lot in common with its raunchy off-Loop counterparts. But thankfully Harry McEwan and John McMahon’s well-tweaked musical is more campy than mean-spirited, combining a rapid-fire succession of rock ‘n’ roll song-and-dance routines with […]

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Four Queens-No Trump

FOUR QUEENS–NO TRUMP, Onyx Theatre Ensemble, at the Edgewater Theatre Center. Playwright Ted Lange displays an irritating predilection for blandness, predictability, and superficiality in this play. And no wonder, given that he’s best known for his role as Isaac the bartender on The Love Boat. In Four Queens–No Trump issues are dropped as quickly as […]

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Eye of God

EYE OF GOD, Profiles Theatre. In the manner of Pinter and Peckinpah, Tim Blake Nelson’s play is more than a simple chronicle of the tempestuous marriage between an ex-convict and a naive waitress in the small town of Kingfisher, Oklahoma–it’s a complex and intensely dramatic elegy. Hidden beneath its plain language and deceptive aura of […]

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The Most Massive Woman Wins

THE MOST MASSIVE WOMAN WINS, CollaborAction, at Voltaire. Madeleine George’s well-intentioned attempt to take a pile driver to social mores of beauty and fitness in The Most Massive Woman Wins would make Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem proud. In the waiting room of a liposuction clinic–a veritable signifier of the mania surrounding body image–four women […]

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Smash

SMASH, Bailiwick Repertory. What makes this adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s 1887 novel, An Unsocial Socialist, so ingenious is that playwright Jeffrey Hatcher retains Shaw’s characters and thorough dissection of socialism but creates an entirely new framework that helps streamline some of the more confusing aspects of the narrative. In the process, he demonstrates his […]

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The Sum of Us

THE SUM OF US, Lucid Theatre Productions, at the Preston Bradley Center for the Arts. Through its simple investigation of love, loneliness, and the human condition, The Sum of Us manages to avoid focusing exclusively on either gay or straight issues. In this respect David Stevens’s comedy about a father and son living together in […]

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Baglady

BAGLADY, Nova Productions, at Voltaire. This one-woman show by Irish playwright Frank McGuinness forestalls any empathy with its protagonist, a mentally ill vagrant who over the course of an hour holds court with a dog, her father, and a passerby. To the viewer, who sees nothing but one woman prowling a stark stage, these appear […]

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Little Crashes/ Old

Little Crashes/Old, Rhinoceros Theater Festival, at the Lunar Cabaret. For the casual theatergoer, weaned on traditional fare like Our Town and Death of a Salesman, local playwright Peter Handler’s slice-of-life one-acts might appear fragmented. But Handler–like others in the Rhinoceros Theater Festival–wants to go beyond the limited tastes of John Q. Patron. In Old, two […]