Rio | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Rio, Dream Theatre Company, at the Side Studio. Jeremy Menekseoglu's erratic play has more personalities than the serial killer at its center. The show--100 minutes needlessly interrupted by an intermission--veers wildly from intense, dark, angry, and violent to surreal and silly. At one moment a cop and two cuffed prisoners are dancing to Toni Basil's "Mickey," and at another the helpless guy who just wants to love does battle with the internal demon goading him to kill. It's unclear whether Menekseoglu is aiming for comedy or drama, and since he's directing the show with Sarah Mostad, the staging and tone don't help clarify his purpose.

There are meaty parts for the hardworking actors, however. Menekseoglu plays the kind/creepy killer, Willy, and Rebecca Lincoln is the fragile, broken woman who escapes spousal abuse only to fall in love with him. Kyle Carroll is the shrill, delusional woman who believes Willy loves her, and Bilal Dardai is the Mexican cop desperately seeking the man murdering illegal immigrants and dumping their bludgeoned bodies in the Rio Grande. Unfortunately the characters' different angles come with little explanation and so lack depth and credibility. And any intensity there might have been gets lost in short scenes deflated by mistimed comic relief.

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