Wonder of the World | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Wonder of the World


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Wonder of the World, Profiles Theatre. In his industriously wacky comedy Fuddy Meers, David Lindsay-Abaire flaunted his flair for quirk-ridden characters connected by coincidence and calamity. His latest concoction owes its tiny soul to the plot, theme, and style of Craig Lucas's whimsically absurd Reckless. It centers on a frustrated wife, Cass, who dumps her adoring husband and heads to Niagara Falls. There she meets such dubiously comic misery mongers as a suicidal alcoholic, the horny captain of the Maid of the Mist, two hapless private investigators, obnoxious waitresses in theme restaurants, and a clown therapist. The fact that Cass and her suicidal sidekick don't die when they barrel over the falls Thelma-and-Louise style is as arbitrary as everything else in this nasty mockery of other people's pain.

If you find it hilarious that Cass's husband swallows the heads of Barbie dolls to savor the feeling of shitting them out, this may be the play for you. For others, these clueless cartoon characters will turn tedious fast. The weakest link in Darrell W. Cox's staging is Sara Maddox's irritatingly perky Cass, a scatterbrain whose pursuit of independence reveals the playwright's misogyny. Rob Smith plays the hapless husband with a dignity that escapes the other characters, and in the slew of hit-and-run caricatures, Liz Stewart betrays a wry rubber face. But dialogue like this needs perfect comic timing so the underlying cruelty doesn't leak out. Here it sloshes all over the stage.

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