I Hate That Guy | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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I Hate That Guy



I HATE THAT GUY, What Up Dog? Productions, at O Bar & Cafe. If you write a one-joke one-act, that one gag better be a gut buster. The supposed jest in actor-director-playwright Eric Francque's clumsy, silly play is revenge by the nerdy Leon (Francque) against Zach (Scott Cali), a stud colleague who does everything better, faster, and smoother and has spare time for children with cancer. Nothing Leon does wins him praise, while Zach is adored for things he didn't do. When Leon discovers that Zach has an evil twin, vengeance seems at hand. But it never comes, as Francque's revenge plot peters out in dick jokes and a dumb dream sequence. Even worse than this dead end are the hints at events that never materialize--presumably dead ends left over from earlier drafts.

The staging seems equally halfhearted. Though Frank Caeti has fun as the jive-talking boss, Kim Greene and Nancy Howland Walker are stuck with the stereotypes of a fortune huntress and a dweebish spinster. And although Francque plays Leon with self-effacing charm, the part remains a cipher. Strangest of all is casting Cali as Zach: an agreeable actor, he's still no hunk, as Zach is constantly described. Perhaps the sloppy plot got equally careless casting.

--Lawrence Bommer

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