Toyer | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

TOYER, TNT Productions and Element Theatre Company, at Victory Gardens Theater Studio. Maude Christopher is a police psychiatrist who prides herself on her sensitivity. This, one supposes, accounts for her extraordinary naivete in letting a stranger into her house--a stranger who may be a serial killer, called the "Toyer" for his practice of lobotomizing his victims after sexually assaulting them. Maude's "sensitivity" may also account for her reacting emotionally instead of rationally to danger.

Yes, it might be sensitivity--but more likely it's the demands placed on her character by Gardner McKay in his melodramatic script: mostly, Maude must overlook all sorts of opportunities for escape in order to stretch the story out to 90 minutes (TV-movie length). This being harder to do onstage than on video, which can make use of tricky camera angles, Daniel Taube directs Bibi Tinsley and Tom Daniel to simply walk through their roles, not even attempting to justify the logical lapses. Yet even homicidal maniacs and hysterical spinsters need a method to their meshuggas.

Toyer is good for a lurid thrill or two, but playgoers flashing on William Mastrosimone's Extremities may well pass the time admiring the California-chic set and considering the wisdom of the saying Shoot first and ask questions later.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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