Boston Marriage | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Boston Marriage



Boston Marriage, Roadworks Productions, at the Chopin Theatre. David Mamet's foray into the world of drawing-room comedy with a lesbian twist yields some knowing laughs but few revelations. Under the adept direction of Kirsten Kelly, Roadworks' midwest premiere of Boston Marriage--a euphemism for an intimate domestic arrangement between unmarried women--mostly hits the high points in Mamet's 1999 script. The problem is, those high points are molehills.

In the brittle game of badinage and domination played by Anna (Stephanie Childers) and Clair (Laura Scott Wade), there's never any room between bons mots for a real sense of danger. Unlike the sparring duo in Oleanna, for example, these partners have tiresomely similar voices. Wade acquits herself somewhat better than Childers when it comes to conveying her character's vulnerability--Clair has fallen in love with a much younger woman, precipitating the play's action, such as it is. And Mattie Hawkinson as their put-upon maid is charming almost to a fault.

There are some wickedly funny one-liners; at one point the maid says, "While I was admiring your muff, your parts came." Geoffrey M. Curley's set is beautifully appointed, and Elea Crowther's late-19th-century costumes are lovely. But the overall effect is rather like eating a lot of mediocre toffee for nearly two hours.

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