Stories From New York | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Stories From New York

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

Stories From New York, Great Beast Theater, at the Boxer Rebellion Theater. Playwright Jason Milligan has more than 27 plays to his name, most of them one-acts. How has he been so prolific? Simple: he traffics in cliches--lots of them, the more worn the better--as you can see in the two short works that make up this evening. The bartender in The Best Warm Beer in Brooklyn is tough, a little stupid, but good-hearted in a Tony Danza kind of way. The sap he becomes enmeshed with is the kind of whiny Brooklyn nebbish Jerry Lewis used to play. The two lunks in Nights in Hohokus talk in comically harsh "Joisey" accents and engage in a rambling dialogue that sounds like warmed-over Mamet.

An even bigger problem is Milligan's fondness for stories that don't pass the bullshit test. We're asked to believe, for example, that a would-be artist seeks out physical injury because he believes great artists have to suffer. It doesn't help that the Great Beast folks have descended to the level of the material, turning in awkward, unbelievable performances under the direction of Michelle Power. Ryan Biddle La Fleur in particular is shockingly awful as the sap in The Best Warm Beer. Niki Williams and Kate Currier fare better in Nights in Hohokus, though the clever idea of having women play the two snorting, grimacing, crotch-grabbing dudes grows tiresome after a while.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment