Orgasmo Adulto Escapes From the Zoo | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Orgasmo Adulto Escapes From the Zoo

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ORGASMO ADULTO ESCAPES FROM THE ZOO, at the Theatre Building. There's something inescapably slipshod about this production of Dario Fo and Franca Rame's vicious feminist commedia, written in 1977. Actually, there are many things: the random assemblage of set pieces, the broad washes of unfocused light, the clunky scene changes, the overall lack of visual interest. And few scripts are more in need of precision: the playwrights depict the farcical horror of unchecked patriarchy in vivid, exacting detail. In a series of comic monologues, Italy's modern-day jesters show us five women abused, paralyzed, and humiliated by husbands, paramours, bosses, doctors, Peeping Toms, even infant children, from a young waif trying to coax a bit of romance from her cloddish lover to a whore in an insane asylum describing a recent gang rape.

Actress Francesca Fanti, breathless and manic, rises slightly above her pitiable surroundings. But directors Steve Pink and Sid Feldman--who should know a thing or two about the rigors of commedia from their days with New Crime Productions--fail to modulate her hyperactivity. She tears through the nearly two-hour show at an unvarying pace, bringing a pouty, girlish, fidgety energy to every character, rendering them nearly interchangeable. It's a performance with little nuance, color, or texture--in other words, with little truth. And without that truth, this agitprop carnival becomes a doctrinaire harangue. --Justin Hayford

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