Sexual Perversity In Chicago and All Men Are Whores, Theo Ubique Theatre Company, at the Heartland Studio Theater. David Mamet's plays can be performed in the most Spartan circumstances and work as well as--or better than--they would in big-budget productions. All you really need are smart, talented performers of the sort directors Fred Anzevino and Beverle Bloch have assembled here.
Of these two pieces, All Men Are Whores is the more abstract and difficult. Essentially a series of monologues delivered by three characters whose stories seem to intersect, this jagged little play will defeat anyone who tries to shape it into a coherent whole. Happily, Anzevino and Block focus on the clear delivery of Mamet's wonderful language and the forceful realization of his characters and leave it to the audience to put it together. Tommy Beaver is particularly affecting as one of Mamet's verbally aggressive males, and Niki Lindgren deserves kudos for playing one of his assertive women without making her a bitch.
Sexual Perversity in Chicago is much more accessible (and more frequently done). Still, it's impressive how much this four-person ensemble gets right when re-creating Mamet's world in the shabby Heartland Studio. It's especially wonderful to see Marc Jablon reveal all sides of the buffoonish Bernie Litko--the aggressive asshole and the wounded soul, the tiresome blowhard, loyal friend, and bar-stool wit.