Success in Numbers | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Success in Numbers

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SUCCESS IN NUMBERS, Wondertwyn Productions, at Wing & Groove Theatre. This tiresome, formulaic relationship comedy was originally penned as a screenplay--and certainly a film's jump cuts would be an improvement over the current production's laborious, energy-siphoning blackouts. But neither celluloid nor playwright-director Jon-David's jerky, labored staging can rescue his self-obsessed characters from obnoxiousness.

The plodding two-hour Success in Numbers shows Cammi--a solipsistic thirtysomething commercial photographer--and her whiny gay assistant Jessy searching for their respective Mr. Rights. Painfully predictable, their quest begins with assorted unfunny dates from hell and proceeds to a straight uncle and his gay nephew. They have their own emotional baggage--the elder is manic-depressive, pill popping, and sexually impotent and has suicidal tendencies--but still the two Rights are slightly less fucked-up than the damaged goods who've preceded them. Finally--after smarmy confessions, phony hugs, and an overdose of psychobabble about validation, fear of commitment, astrological signs, New Age fatalism, and feel-good affirmations--Jon-David's talky nonentities settle for something like happiness.

If only they'd come to life, even sporadically, instead of explaining themselves to death with dreadful lines like "I feel bad--I don't want to feel bad" and "I feel I need to know how I feel." But Cammi and Jessy remain toxically self-centered, boring, and repellent, performed as they are here with a fatal mixture of clumsy cuteness and awkward insincerity.

--Lawrence Bommer

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