Rewrites | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Rewrites, Dolphinback Theatre Company, at the Chopin Theatre. The cast gives its all to the world premiere of Lee Blessing's black comedy; what a shame the play isn't worth it. Rewrites supposedly parodies reality television: a TV producer decides to exploit his own dysfunctional family. But because the genre parodies itself, the thing falls flat. Blessing also fails to give the audience anyone with whom to identify. All the characters are crazy, fey, and off in their own universes, and as a result the script is more arch than insightful despite a wealth of references to literature and architecture and postmodern art.

The actors resist the script's many invitations to indicate, mug, or preen, instead committing absolutely to their roles. Director Ellen Bean Larabee stages the comic scenes with real flair, assisted by set designer Anthony Vergot (his placement of two cardboard tubes sets up the show's best visual joke). All the actors are strong, but Lynne Hall brings remarkable power and longing to her narration of a childhood memory, a tale the playwright tries relentlessly to sabotage with irony. See Dolphinback in something more worthy of its talents.

--Kelly Kleiman

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