Win, Place, Or Show | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Win, Place, Or Show

Factory Theater


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Win, Place or Show, Factory Theater. The Factory wiseasses have followed up their hit Schlitz-swilling, poker-playing guys'-night-out comedy Alive with a raucous, foulmouthed day at the races that's just the sort of funny but irrelevant sequel you'd expect. A follow-up more in spirit than in reality, it brings back some of the same characters, recycles a few jokes, and bursts with the same no-holds-barred, chest-thumping energy that made Alive such a riot.

Set at Arlington Park race track, Win, Place or Show features the boys sucking back brews, gulping down shots, picking fights with frat guys, bitching about their shitty lives, and losing big money; essentially plotless, it belches forth dick jokes, ass jokes, semen jokes, Al Pacino imitations, and ferocious arguments about rock bands, many of them hilarious. And the Factory boys--directed by Nick Digilio, who cowrote the script with Ernest Deak--brilliantly embody the rituals of obnoxious drunken-male behavior. But midway through, these characters, like old drinking buddies on the second day of a college reunion, become stale and predictable. The play loses focus and drags, then ends about three different times.

What Digilio and company seem to be striving for is a crude race-track version of Bleacher Bums, and given Factory's frenetic 60-jokes-per-minute speed, there's no reason why Win, Place or Show shouldn't become as big a hit as that overdone, boring show. Still, losing about ten minutes of repetitive dialogue and extraneous plot threads would help.

--Adam Langer

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