Roadside Attraction | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Roadside Attraction



Roadside Attraction, at WNEP Theater. Kelly Kreglow's collection of comic vignettes boasts all the familiar emblems summing up what's wonderful and awful about road trips: sport bottles, dust-covered Winnebagos, obsessive-compulsive map minding, the almighty bathroom break. It's also about the tiny, precious moments that spring purely from the circumstance of traveling--the intense conversations and knock-down-drag-out arguments you tend to remember when the surroundings have faded into a blur. It makes perfect sense that the four wayward duos marooned at an Oklahoma rest stop never really connect or even express much interest in the scenery--they're too busy picking at the scabs of their dysfunctional relationships.

Jacobina Martin and Craig Degel's broad comic performances contribute to the warm, nostalgic atmosphere of their vignettes--they play off each other especially well in sketches where the relationships are distinct: two bickering retirees, an absentee father and his spoiled daughter. Less well conceived are scenes between an unlucky debutante and a highway sanitation worker and between two star-crossed lovers.

Kreglow does understand the universal truth of travel: if you can muster the strength to share a car with a friend or family member, you're tougher than most. But she struggles when it comes to writing convincing male characters, a flaw that's increasingly evident as she attempts to dig deeper into the ties that bind. A whiz at surface details, she can't manage to put emotional depth on the map.

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