Oy! | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Rich Orloff's 13 comic sketches about Jewish life are part moral tutorial and part loving commentary. What they aren't is funny. Perhaps they would have been if director Brian LeTraunik hadn't tried so hard to push our emotional buttons in this Chicago Jewish Theatre production of a script that's sentimental to begin with. Each segment defines a Yiddish word, displayed prominently at the back of the stage. The sketch on macher ("big shot"), for example, offers an alternate version of Genesis, with Eve as the rational, obedient one and Adam as the self-important jerk who eats the apple. The most intellectually interesting is a divorce trial between humanity and God, with both sides airing their grievances: the Holocaust, rampant disobedience. But even here you're hit over the head with a lesson--humans should be closer to God. Ultimately Oy! is just a lightly disguised lecture. Through 2/20: Thu and Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 and 7 PM. Red Hen Productions, Kenneth LeTraunik Theatre, 5123 N. Clark, 773-728-0599. $25.

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