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The Doctor in Spite of Himself; The Pretentious Young Ladies

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The first of City Lit Theater Company's short pieces by Moliere falls flat, despite Page Hearn's brisk direction, because only Michael Schroeck as the young lover seems to understand the over-the-top nature of farce: when he smiles, his teeth sparkle like Dudley Do-Right's. Playing the title character, Thomas M. Shea isn't venal enough to make his impersonation of a doctor persuasive or amusing, and his victim seems just a normal guy instead of someone begging to be shown up. The evening hits its stride with The Pretentious Young Ladies, done in modern dress. Schroeck is brilliant as the valet "poet" who writes his extemporaneous work in advance, and he's particularly well matched with Erin Kathleen Carlson as the more Valley-girl of the two ladies. Shea's earnestness here, which undermined his earlier performance, serves him well in the role of the eye-rolling father. Through 1/2: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. No show Thu 11/25. City Lit Theater Company, Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr, 773-293-3682. $18-$25.

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