Raised by Lesbians | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Raised by Lesbians


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RAISED BY LESBIANS, Green Highway Theater, at the Viaduct Theater. It's not easy being the child of lesbian parents, especially if you're an awkward 16. Do you feel abnormal because you're being raised by lesbians or simply because you're a teenager?

Playwright Leah Ryan explores this question with a thoughtful, engaging, broadly funny play incorporating two versions of the same story. In the more realistic one, Joe (Phillip Minton) struggles to decide whether to live with his cynical, distant, but loving lesbian mother (Ariel Brenner) or his once remote but now overly enthusiastic straight father (Jonathan Webb). The second story is a comic-book variation on the first: Joe becomes Feral Freak Boy in an experiment masterminded by Dr. Glenda (Brenner) and her fawning assistant (played for laughs by Jenn SavaRyan). Feral Freak Boy ponders whether Dr. Glenda is a mad or compassionate scientist and whether the Masked Man (Webb) who tries to take him away is a hero or a villain.

Though in its Chicago premiere Ryan's play doesn't quite hang together, Green Highway Theater's crack cast adds depth where the playwright has neglected character. As directed by Janel Winter, Minton resonates as a gawky, sensitive teenager trying to make a difficult decision, and Marilyn Bielby is equally strong as Joe's best friend, Gracie, who has a crush on his mom.

--Jennifer Vanasco

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