Serendipity | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Things are looking up at the Space, Chicago's newest hole-in-the-wall incubator of adventurous new plays. In the past few months Half Cocked Productions, which runs the Space, have put up new drywall, found a few extra chairs, and replaced their four clamp-on lamps with a small grid of track lighting. They've left the diarrhea-and-cream linoleum-tile floor as it was, perhaps so they won't be accused of getting too tony. In celebration of their minirehab, the company has reopened Arik Martin's brutal, darkly comic drama Serendipity, which premiered in January. The play begins as bumbling bank robber Trip bursts into a motel room with his mouthy hostage Sara, whom he chains to the bed and shoots in the shoulder just to shut her up. Soon an escaped convict named Dennis happens by, takes Trip and Sara hostage, and pushes the situation into desperate violence. This time around John Wilson finds much more nuance in the luckless character of Trip, but newcomer Jill Bartlett seems to be clutching at Sara, at least during the play's first half. Once again the evening belongs to Jeremy Glickstein as the charming but pathological Dennis; his fiery intensity melds the production into a whole. While Serendipity takes longer to heat up than it did in its first incarnation, ultimately it reaches more harrowing heights. The Space, 4829 N. Damen, 773-297-2745. Through May 19: Fridays-Saturdays, 10 PM. $12.

--Justin Hayford

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