Death in a Beulah Box Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 29 2015

This puzzling drama by Barbara Wells unfolds in a rundown beauty salon on the south side. It’s owned by Luis, a pistol-packing stylist with good business sense, and frequented by three regulars: airheaded, hot-to-trot Carol, a lesbian activist named 20, and Death, who prowls the periphery and occasionally engages the others in mischievous chitchat. In the characters’ long, shapeless, repetitive conversations, Wells brings up several important issues—racism, gun violence, homophobia, and Chicago’s stark class divisions among them—but the script’s lurches in tone, lack of clarity, and scant attention to detail or coherent character development get in the way of whatever it is she’s trying to say. It doesn’t help that Jason Paul Smith’s staging for Three Cat Productions is both underrehearsed and overplayed. —Zac Thompson

Price: $25

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