The Sweet Stuff | Gorilla Tango Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Sweet Stuff New Review (Theater and Comedy) The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thu., July 22, 7:30 p.m., Fri., July 23, 7:30 p.m., Sat., July 24, 6 p.m., Sun., July 25, 2 p.m., Thu., July 29, 7:30 p.m., Fri., July 30, 7:30 p.m., Sat., July 31, 6 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 1, 5 p.m. 2010

Call it M. Night Shyamalanism: a desire for narrative and moral symmetry so strong that it outweighs every other consideration, including coherence. Named after the film auteur responsible for nonsense like Unbreakable and The Village, the syndrome seems to be creeping into live theater lately. Here's an example. Jayme McGhan's play pits Jerry Ward, a newly widowed carpenter with a five-year-old daughter and blood that possesses magical healing properties, against Walter Joyce, divorced rich guy with a sick five-year-old son who could really use some of that special blood. The basic notion of a man hounded for a rare physical trait has potential, but McGhan is so wrapped up in her Shyamalanisms--I mean, even the initials of the two main characters are mirror images of each other--that she ignores enormous plot holes. Emily Cherry's Chased by an Elephant production is competent, but somebody has to tell Carl Lindberg, who plays Walter, to stop staring off into the middle distance. --Tony Adler

Price: $20

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