A Merry Jewish Christmas | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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A Merry Jewish Christmas


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A Merry Jewish Christmas, Bailiwick Repertory. David (Michael Hersch-berg) has a problem. His parents are coming to his Lakeview apartment for the first time to celebrate Hanukkah, and there's something they don't know: David's "roommate," Olsen (Patrick Gannon), is actually his boyfriend of three years. Worse, Olsen isn't Jewish. Together the couple must hide the Christmas tree, stash the porn, and keep their secret in the name of family harmony.

In Josh Levine's agreeable new sitcom-farce of a play, this situation--plus a few unexplosive revelations--is enough to keep things moving toward happily ever after. There's not a lot that's unexpected here, but Levine and director Jeremy Wechsler do capture the rumble of loving family arguments. Kirsten D'Aurelio is especially effective as David's sister, Shayna, who's both matter-of-fact about her brother's relationship and a little bitter that he can do no wrong while she and her gentile husband try so hard to do everything right--and fail. Margaret Kustermann is solid as the stereotypical Jewish mother, and Tom Lally appropriately prickly as the father who wants to watch television instead of interacting with his family.

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