Texas Sheen | CIC Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Texas Sheen The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Oct. 3 2009

Anthony Ellison's twisted, way, way over-the-top melodrama is billed as a parody of Harlequin Romance novels. But the gun-totin', chaw-spittin', kin-killin', dumber-than-dirt hicks who populate it seem like refugees from a particularly fucked-up corner of Dogpatch. Lacking a meaningful satirical target, Ellison's tale of a hunky, traumatized WWII vet risking his hide to court the libidinous daughter of a Texas farmer ends up exhausting already exhausted backwoods stereotypes: the farm family's combined brainpower can't devise a scheme to get a dead horse out of a shed. Director Karisa Bruin orchestrates numerous moments of sublime physical comedy, but her decision to keep the actors poised atop quivering, eye-bulging emotional peaks for most of the show's 90 minutes leaves little room for subtlety or unforced humor. --Justin Hayford

Price: $15

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