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Fraternal Instinct

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Two of the supporting characters in Tony Fiorentino's new play for Diamante Productions are easy to relate to: a man overburdened by the nonstop demands of his brother, Joel, after an accident, and Joel's fiancee, struggling to remain connected to him as he tries to push her away. But the work's center is Joel, an obsessive struggling actor, played by Andrew Pond as an unremitting ass. Embittered by becoming a paraplegic, Joel flirts with suicide and antagonizes his therapist when he isn't enacting petty revenge on the brother he blames for his car crash. Brandy Austin's staging nets a few laughs, but the relationships don't work the way Fiorentino intends: he aims for clever but hits clunky. An unearned hopeful ending further frustrates. --Jenn Goddu a Through 5/6: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500, $18.

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