Marge | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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MARGE, Hodar Productions, at Stage Left Theatre. Leroy Snarkler is a weak, whiny socialist real estate salesman who constantly threatens to kill his wife but is afraid to be alone. Daphne, his "untouched, unused" partner of 13 years, tries to goad him into murdering her even as she makes small efforts to fight back (let's say she mixes a mean grasshopper). The couple snipe at each other every morning over breakfast until Leroy gets a big idea. He hires Marge, "a sex technician" with a business card that reads "I'm no ho," to be a live-in cook and companion. But much to his dismay, Marge turns out to be a lesbian.

The comic potential in Peter Morris's play, which Hodar Productions is giving its American premiere, is undermined by his scattershot approach. Witty observations on socialist revolution, vegetarianism, feminism, lesbianism, prostitution, and marriage get lost in this sprawling, wordy play. And as directed by Nicole Mischler, the show has little momentum. Misty Brodiaea portrays Marge as so aloof and nonchalant that the character becomes dull. Ben Byer plays Leroy's childlike tendencies well but never conveys the feelings that would drive this man to plot a murder. Julie Cohen steals the show as a venomous Daphne, but her tears of disappointment and pain at Leroy's taunts are wholly unbelievable. There's plenty cooking in the Snarklers' kitchen, but this production has little sizzle.

--Jenn Goddu

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