Bad Judgment Day | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Bad Judgment Day


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BAD JUDGEMENT DAY, WNEP Theater, at Lakeshore Theater. This play by Clay and Nate Sander satirizes evangelical churches, capitalizing on the fact that piety often conceals immorality. Unfortunately the script is aimless and the concept dated, but the show features a couple of bright performances.

The plot revolves around two rival churches. The nondenominational parish headed by lackluster Pastor Garner Hall (James Yeater) is nearly bankrupt. The rock 'n' roll mega church led by charismatic Reverend Ruth Roby (Kathy Sander) is drawing away most of Hall's congregants and all his top donors. Then one of Hall's parishioners wins a million dollars on a game show and wants to donate it to their church--but Hall has taken a strong public (anti-Roby) stand against gambling. Throw in two enforcers--the prissy Floyd (Scott Markwell) and the drunken, sloppy Sonny (Tucker Curtis)--trying to get the money owed their bookie boss and a pair of annoying do-gooders (Rebecca Langguth and Bill Redding), and you should come up with comic mayhem. Instead what ensues is just a mess.

These days evangelist greed seems almost quaint compared to the more serious scandals rocking churches. And under Jen Ellison's direction, the ensemble--accustomed to WNEP's former space--seems lost on Lakeshore's huge stage. In a valiant effort to save the show, Jeff Griggs gives his aw-shucks church employee the kind of comic details that almost make the evening bearable.

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