Love, Sex, and the I.R.S. | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Love, Sex, and the I.R.S.


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LOVE, SEX, AND THE I.R.S., Drury Lane Theatre Evergreen Park. This comedic relic by William Van Zandt and Jane Milmore revolves around an out-of-work musician who for tax purposes falsely claims his male roommate, conveniently named Leslie, as a spousal deduction. To conceal the subterfuge from a bumbling federal inspector, the roommate begins impersonating the musician's "wife." Love, Sex, and the I.R.S. is a cross between Charley's Aunt and Some Like It Hot but minus the high-spirited delight in deception that turns those impersonators into true "heroines."

Still, in David Mink's reliable revival, Ron Rains delivers the wife with the wrath of tackiness, full drag ahead and no half measures. Like every character here, Leslie is a device to milk laughs, whether of nervousness or recognition. The audience must worry that this desperate charade will collapse, but we're actually grateful when it does, if only because the by-the-numbers buffoonery is intentionally exhausting.

Amid the slapstick machinery of a forced farce is one spark of warmth: Dale Benson's tax collector. Though overwrought to Looney Tunes proportions, especially in the ogling and leering, his lonely, voyeuristic stooge goes beyond anything imaginable in the realm of Form 1040-ES. Benson falls into the folly like a salmon into a stream. Driving home the mayhem, Nancy Baird faints nicely as a southern matron frazzled by the wrong wardrobe, and Gary Brichetto lumbers well as the prying landlord.

--Lawrence Bommer

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