Absent Friends | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Absent Friends

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This staging by Will Act for Food lacks the sense of ease needed to make Alan Ayckbourn's farce brightly entertaining. The situation--an afternoon tea party where unhappily married couples gather to comfort a friend after his fiancee's death--is meant to be awkward, but the actors themselves appear uncomfortable: quick wit and physical antics elude most of them. Ironically, the most relaxed and charming performer is Kristen Williams as the party's high-strung hostess. Scott Pasko as her oafish husband and Christopher Kaye as the blithely unaware "grieving" guest are occasionally entertaining too. Jenna Rabideaux's staging nets a few laughs, but not as many as it should, and overall the pacing of this two-hour show is off. Through 7/1: Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 2:30 and 8 PM, Chicago Academy for the Arts, 1010 W. Chicago, 773-784-2740, $21 ($1 off with donation of nonperishable food item).

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