Bus Boyz | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

There's a lot of heart and charm in Nambi E. Kelley's new play about a young black woman's series of fouled-up relationships. But this coproduction by Ma'at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre (MPAACT) and Prop Thtr, directed by Ayana Cahrr, can't overcome the repetitiousness of Kelley's story. Her protagonist, Mary, says that "men are like buses--another one always comes along." And they certainly do here. Kelley makes it clear that Mary's doomed relationships with men, who range from manipulative to neglectful to emotionally withdrawn, stem from a poor connection with her mostly absent father, but Mary's repeated failures don't provide any more insight into her character. Tanya Renee Lane is energetic and engaging in the role, making up in likability what she lacks in complexity. Despite an unnecessarily gothic twist toward the end, Kelley's play is mostly a smooth ride to a foregone conclusion. Through 5/15: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Prop Thtr, 3502-4 N. Elston, 773-539-7838. $15-$25.

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