A Young Man in Pieces | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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A Young Man in Pieces

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A YOUNG MAN IN PIECES, Gift Theatre Company, at National Pastime Theater. The first act of William Nedved's new play is merely an underdeveloped comedy of manners, with a dull foray into a satire of urban gentrification. It's in the second act that this show really falls apart. At the outset the story is banal but relatively focused: a young man, Craig, just home from a backpacking tour of Europe moves into an Uptown condo. None of his family or friends listens to him--and there's a lot of frustrating, unfunny overlapping dialogue to prove it. Craig is also dealing with his parents' divorce and his own unrequited love for his brother's ex.

Perhaps in an attempt to make the script feel more inventive, Nedved starts swinging wildly after intermission. Craig's mother delivers a monologue about attempting suicide, it seems Craig has had an affair with his cousin (Maggie Andersen, giving the play's most charismatic performance), and Craig's girlfriend claims to have been raped by aliens. None of the characters changes or grows to any credible degree, but this is especially problematic for Craig--who's bland and unreadable in Benjamin Montague's portrayal. Because he spends much of this slapdash show merely reacting to the oddballs in his life, we never care about his fate.

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