The Junky of Lincoln Park, Beatnik Theatre, at Live Bait Theater. There's no place to go but up for the young folks toiling at the Apartment Discovery home finders service. Not only does their work require them to deal patiently with distasteful customers--a lonely matron who wastes her agent's time socializing, a borderline psychopath banished from his hometown--but their office is about to be replaced by a Gap. The plan is that only one of the three employees will be retained and transferred to the easy-duty DePaul branch. But in the ensuing frenzy of suspicion, sabotage, and sucking up, two wind up losing their jobs and one, possibly, his life.
This Junky of Lincoln Park is considerably better than the one that premiered in 1996 at Cafe Voltaire: its universe has been expanded to include various confederates (piggish Phil lives with his shrewish mother, prissy Cat has a Blue Man-wannabe boyfriend, materialistic Eddy now has a bookie) and big-time real estate agents as mercenary as those who aspire to their status. Though the ending is a cliche and the troupe needs to tighten up its numerous scene changes, Patrick Ney's play has definitely made progress, legitimizing Beatnik Theatre's partly improvisational approach.
--Mary Shen Barnidge