Mis-happenstance Chances of Addicts to Love | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Mis-happenstance Chances of Addicts to Love

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Mis-happenstance Chances of Addicts to Love, Theatre o' th' Absurd, at the Lincoln Restaurant or Abbey Pub. Playwright Pepper Giese asks, "Is there such a thing as a happy ending?" But I was too happy this show reached any kind of ending at all to care about the answer. In this dull experiment, commedia dell'arte-type characters get caught up in philosophical debates about love, the force of change, and the importance of free choice. It's a painfully long 90 minutes, and Giese hasn't bothered to concoct a story that makes sense, dropping plot points all along the way.

The staging, which Giese directs, has no focus, just a lot of nonsensical stage business, perhaps intended to be funny. We have no idea why the characters, loosely linked by their presence in a rustic inn, behave the way they do, but they're so dull their motives don't really matter. Actors Maggie Abreu, Django R. Baker, Nathan John, and Jeanne Dohm can't do much with the roles they've been given, but at least they make us wonder what they might have been capable of given real characters to play.

I saw a press preview at the Abbey Pub, but most of the show's run is at the Lincoln Restaurant. I can't imagine the change of venue will make a difference to the melodramatic acting, random staging, and rambling dialogue. This play would be wordy and meaningless no matter what its setting.

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