Suburbs, Bloody Suburbs | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Suburbs, Bloody Suburbs

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Suburbs, Bloody Suburbs, Train Wreck Theatre Company, at Club 950. Working stiff Bill Burns has it all: a house in the suburbs, an adoring family, and a great golf handicap. But he covets the town's "barbecue king" title and will stop at nothing--including poisoning his friends and neighbors--to wrest the crown from good-natured Tom Parker.

That's the wafer-thin premise of Brian Mueller and Robby Ehlert's predictable comedy, set in Pleasant Valley, where "there's a Ford Explorer in every driveway." So there's about 60 minutes of filler in Suburbs, Bloody Suburbs--a staggering amount of time considering this wretched script clocks in at just over an hour. Suburban foibles and follies aren't exactly a wellspring of original material, and once the playwrights exhaust the grilling and golfing jokes, they scramble to win back their audience with anything they can--pop-culture references, a striptease sequence, a cameo by Satan.

Sadly Suburbs, Bloody Suburbs implodes even before its authors resort to lame observational humor: the cast--most of whom look as if they're praying to be rescued by a power outage or natural disaster--haven't even bothered to memorize their lines. Of course, the sight lines at Club 950 are so poor that most of the audience can't see that the actors are tripping over one another's feet, much less the dialogue. At least the company lives up to its name: this is one giant train wreck of a production. --Nick Green

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