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A Bitter Taste

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A teenage hustler's entrance into the lives of two male friends--one a cocky lawyer, the other an uptight academic--brings violence and years of suppressed desire to the surface in this unsettling drama by Kevin Christopher Snipes. With its misogynistic characters and cruel power games, the piece is reminiscent of Neil LaBute, but with the unspoken homoeroticism of such works as In the Company of Men made entirely explicit. Two of the three performances in Bailiwick's staging are adequate; the third is impressive. Playing a familiar type--the arrogant attorney--Jeff Ruether gives the character an air of amused self-loathing that is both unexpected and thoroughly convincing.--Zac Thompson a Through 8/26: Wed 8 PM, Sun 8 PM, Sat 8/11, 2 PM, Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-883-1090, $25.

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