Bad-Ass & the Devil | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Bad-Ass & the Devil


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Bad-Ass & The Devil, Half Cocked Productions, at the Space. Arik Martin's thoroughly black script--which follows a high-strung doctor and a smooth-talking hitchhiker on a tense car trip--is about as nihilistic as they come. Bad-Ass & the Devil isn't just a cheap excuse for a bloodbath, however. In fact the play's most violent act, limited to a matter of seconds, is represented by two arresting images: one swift thrust of a screwdriver, one bloodstained T-shirt. What's chilling here is the cat-and-mouse game that follows, as driver and passenger jockey for power, baiting and pushing each other. Martin seems less concerned with acts of violence than he is with what invariably accompanies them: psychological abuses.

Considering that 90 percent of the play takes place in the cramped interior of a car, Martin's staging could have been a lot more static. It helps that Gary Sugarman as the doctor and John Wilson as the hitchhiker bring considerable physicality to their roles.

Martin's script heaps irony upon irony, but the greatest is that the play's ostensible mystery--whether one of these two characters is a serial murderer--isn't of much consequence. Everyone in Bad-Ass & the Devil is a complete bastard; the murderer is just the least rotten of them. --Nick Green

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →