Valerie Loves Me | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Valerie Loves Me

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Valerie Loves Me, Lincolnhead Productions, at Stage Left Theatre. Gerard Jamroz wrote, directed, designed the video and composed the songs for, and stars in this incoherent late-night offering about a troubled yuppie marriage. The biggest problem in a script riddled with ridiculous improbabilities is Jamroz's deeply misogynist portrait of the title character, depicted in cartoonish strokes as an unmitigated bitch on wheels--and a pathologically manipulative liar to boot.

The evil Valerie (Diane Hren) is married to a nearly angelic doofus, John (David Wesley Cooper), whose best friend, Deke (Jamroz), is a rising rock star with a wise-beyond-her-years hippie girlfriend Renee (Frankie Keane, who gives more dignity to the role than it deserves). What brings the four together is the baptism of Valerie and John's son--who may actually be Deke's child, though nothing indicates that she and Deke would ever have been friends, much less lovers.

Jamroz peppers the script with references to Ikea, SUVs, and other yuppie delights, but Valerie and John's supposedly plush suburban home (set design by Haley Powell) is decidedly dingy--the rug is filthy, and the white-painted furniture screams Salvation Army. Jamroz's grainy video backdrops add nothing, and his songs are equally unremarkable. But at least we get to hear Keane's delightful golden/gritty vocals at one point--the musical interlude doesn't serve the story, but with so little story to serve, the respite is welcome.

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