DREAMS OF BABY, Equity Library Theatre Chicago, at Breadline Theatre. It's no surprise that a play about an expectant mother's anxieties peaks in the delivery room. The Equity Library Theatre Chicago cast and technical team all come together to make this scene in Mary Lathrop's comedy work. Supported by sound designer Todd Hissong's witty musical cue and George Spelvin's apt (if cliched) lighting, the actors throw themselves into the scene, as new mother Anne imagines that her husband and the medical team are plotting to take her child from her because it's the spawn of Satan. Fully exploring the off-the-wall opportunities in this strange flight of fancy, director Andrew Powdermaker at last successfully conveys the absurdity of Lathrop's comedy.
Unfortunately, most of the rest of the show falls flat. Static portrayals mar bizarre moments--including in-laws in lederhosen, breasts giving mustard and ketchup, and a gun-toting papa confronting a doctor who's seducing a new mother. As the expectant parents, Kim Ataide and David Skidmore have their high points, but in general their performances lack vitality. Susan Nuell and Michael McKay are versatile as the nurse and doctor trying to push the anxious mother over the edge, but their underdeveloped characters suggest shtick rather than comic substance. And the energetic second act includes some really nice moments, but in the end this show could have used a few more weeks in the rehearsal womb.