Bedroom Set | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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BEDROOM SET, Great Beast Theater, at Live Bait Theater. All four one-acts that make up "Bedroom Set" involve a man, a woman, and a big brass bed. But in none of them does anyone sleep (though the wife of the boisterous early riser in Lanford Wilson's Breakfast at the Track makes a valiant effort) or have sex (unless you count the cheerful suburban housewife whose husband just caught her with their next-door neighbor in Elliot Hayes's Poison). To the playwrights represented in this anthology, a bed is a marital battlefield--or at least a negotiating table. In Tennessee Williams's Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen, a self-pitying loser grudgingly allows his mate equal whining time and gets more of an earful than he'd expected. And in Anastasia Royal's Bed a couple on the morning after discourse in the kind of manifestos we associate with therapy sessions.

It's up to directors and actors to breathe life into material this flimsy. Under the direction of Ryan LaFleur, Ariel Brenner finds personalities for the women of Bed and Breakfast, and Phil Gibbs salvages some nice moments in Poison. But Mary Chase and Michael Martin do little more than--well, sleepwalk through their speeches. And a late-night show that has its audience thinking of their own beds is in trouble. --Mary Shen Barnidge

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