7 Blowjobs | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader
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Chicago Viewpoints Ensemble, at Footsteps Theatre Company.

Neither Senator Bob, his receptionist, his two administrative assistants, his twin sons, nor his clergyman crony can bring themselves to describe in words the acts depicted in the seven photographs messengered to the senator's office--in fact everyone is highly "upsquatchulated" by the anonymous shutterbug's artistic output. But if they can, they'd like to use the photos for their own purposes.

Playwright Mac Wellman writes in an Ionesco-like double-talk based on modern vernacular, prudish euphemism ("It only looks like that because it looks like--what it looks like!" stammers one character), and arcane neologisms, as when one character speaks of "perverted sadomonostatistical behavior." The resulting satire on censorship and the mind of the beholder is comical enough, but director Charles Pecor and the Chicago Viewpoints Ensemble clutter it up with self-indulgent embellishments, mugging and squealing, stalking one another in cartoonish formations, twisting themselves into grotesque postures, and generally doing whatever they can to steal focus from one another.

Among the production's redeeming features--aside from its delightfully provocative title--are Andrew Lyons's laid-back Senator Bob and Rebecca Herman's fiery Reverend Tom. Not only is Herman's male impersonation undetectable even to theatergoers who saw her Oberon in Footsteps Theatre's all-female Midsummer Night's Dream, she also conveys a clearly defined character and displays a disciplined comic timing, providing a welcome anchor in the pandemonium that so often prevails in this show.

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