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Jailbait, Factory Theater.

Ever since Factory cofounder Sean Abley started getting gigs with other theater companies, it's been an open question whether his erstwhile partner Amy Seeley (who directed Abley's long-running late-night hit Bitches) could do it on her own. Her last solo effort, Beaver Hunt, had moments of the old Factory brilliance (such as the over-the-top slow-motion shoot-out that ended the play) but sagged a bit overall.

This time, however, Seeley has found her own comic voice. Her script for Jailbait--which has nothing to do with Ed Wood's 1954 cult classic Jail Bait--is wonderful, at once a delightful spoof of women-in-prison movies and a compelling story about a woman cop who poses as a con to find out who killed her sister. Seeley fills her play with all the stock characters from the genre: the abusive, oversexed dyke warden; her cruel second in command; and various creeps, stoolies, sadists, and hapless innocents stumbling through the prison yard. Yet she manages to reform even the most hardened stereotypes.

Seeley's direction has never seemed freer or more aptly inventive. This raw, edgy production re-creates with striking faithfulness all the excesses of the genre--gratuitous violence, incredibly predictable plot twists. But still Seeley finds time for comic moments of a sweeter kind: a few of Factory Theater's trademark lip-synched, choreographed musical romps, plus an insane spoof of beauty contests, just to make things that much weirder and funnier.

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