Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

The Shape of Things

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Iconoclastic playwright Neil LaBute can seem a genius or a sensationalistic pig depending on the quality of the production. This sluggish, uninspired staging of one of LaBute's recent plays, a Chicago premiere, makes him seem particularly porcine--and didactic. Part of the problem is the script, which is way too talky and full of obvious symbolism; for example, the hero is a naif named Adam who's seduced by a two-faced woman named Evelyn (get it?). A 10-minute wrap-up of the preceding 90 minutes is especially mind-numbing. But Kristin Gehring's actors also never seem emotionally invested in LaBute's complex ideas about art and morality. They're apparently much more at home with the mildly witty relationship scenes, especially Zach Welsheimer and Kyla Brundage, compelling as a repressed, inwardly seething Republican couple. Through 5/22: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Thu 5/5-5/19, 8 PM. Circle Theatre, 7300 W. Madison, Forest Park, 708-771-0700. $20-$22.

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