Mr. Bundy | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Mr. Bundy, A Red Orchid Theatre. Given Red Orchid's reputation for intellectually challenging material, this excellent production of a solid but conventional issues-driven drama comes as something of a disappointment. Written by "Jane Martin," the pseudonymous author(s) of Talking With..., this play is more in the Rebecca Gilman than the Ionesco mode, designed to inspire heated debate rather than deep thought. The writing is taut and the material is compelling and credible as a cozy suburban community reacts to the presence of a convicted sex offender who's just moved next door to a yuppie couple and their eight-year-old daughter. But there's a banal movie-of-the-week quality to the play that's not offset by self-consciously theatrical monologues about our society's inability to forgive and move on.

The caliber of the production meets this company's high standards, however. In a spare, elegant staging, director Richard Hesler coaxes performances from his expertly chosen cast that are nothing short of riveting. Particularly fine are Danny McCarthy and Kate Martin, heartrendingly accurate as the embattled young couple who see their unstable marriage devolve into domestic crisis, and Rick Sandoval and Kirsten Fitzgerald as a born-again couple who provide both comic relief and astute social criticism as they take it upon themselves to rid the neighborhood of the title character. Daniel Hoppe manages to be both frightening and sympathetic as the very human, ultimately ordinary Mr. Bundy. --Adam Langer

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