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Losers Bracket


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LOSERS BRACKET, at Theatre Building Chicago. In this remount of their 2002 left-field hit, playwrights Clay and Nate Sander have made the tacky Boo's Tavern into an even more magnificent eyesore: a framed poster of Elvis's cheesiest vehicle, King Creole, rests behind the counter, surrounded by lacquered fishing trophies, NASCAR memorabilia, and a jukebox that plays only air-guitar-worthy epics. Here five fast friends plot a series of overlapping insurance-fraud schemes--this is a Preston Sturges comedy stranded at an I-94 truck stop, a wild, crotch-grabbing snapshot of life at the margins.

Director Jen Ellison has transferred the original WNEP production more or less intact, though some of the nervous, claustrophobic comic effects of her 2002 staging have dissipated in the larger Theatre Building space. The seven cast members--all reprising their roles--pick up the slack with generous performances. Michael Powers and Dave Goss offer sympathetic takes on the play's sitting-duck targets, a pair of mush-mouthed, dim-witted yokels, and Don Hall lets fly with the play's funniest lines as Hitch Bigwood, the morally bankrupt bar owner dead set on getting into a pissing contest with each and every one of his patrons.

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