Sleuth | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader
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Sleuth, Organic Theater Company. The primary selling point for this revival of Anthony Shaffer's 1970 cat-and-mouse thriller is the fact that the cat and mouse are played by father and son actors: Tony Mockus and Tony Mockus Jr. That's also the primary sticking point, inasmuch as the cat and mouse in this case are sexual competitors: Mockus senior portrays the vengeful husband of a woman who's run off with Mockus junior.

The oedipal implications of the casting might actually have been put to good use, adding an intriguing dimension to speeches like the one where Junior derides Senior's manhood. The whole effort might have taken on a nasty-funny Jerry Springer-ish twist. Or alternately, a dark, demented Sam Shepard-ish torque. ("Buried child" indeed!) But no: under Ina Marlowe's direction, the Mockus men give not the slightest indication of recognizing the subtext created by their offstage relationship.

Which is probably just as well, since they seem to have their hands full getting through the script as written. On the night I attended there appeared to be some important technical glitches; and game as he was, Mockus senior was clearly having trouble remembering his lines. His English accent exhibited a tidal sort of behavior, coming in and going out. Mockus junior gives a serviceable performance but lacks the rough edge his character requires. In a way he's at an awful disadvantage here, having to work against Michael Caine's great performance in the 1972 film.

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