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Evanston, Which Is Over There at Curious Theatre Branch

Evanston, Which Is Over There at Curious Theatre Branch | Theater review

Beau O’Reilly’s three acts of wackiness are an act and a half too much.

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Henry Moore is a depressed, fiftysomething playwright living in Rogers Park. He hasn’t written anything in a while, his love life is a shambles, and his glory days are more than 30 years behind him. Beau O’Reilly’s new play follows Henry for six days as he encounters one zany, over-talkative acquaintance after another. We meet Henry’s tart-tongued ex-wife, a grande dame of the theater; best friend Hank, a ukulele-strumming nervous wreck; Hank’s daughter, who has a Rain Man–esque compulsion to count everything; Henry’s alcoholic son, who fancies himself a street thug; an earth goddess obsessed with rocks; and a young actress who gives Henry palpitations.

And that’s just the inner circle. Secondary characters include a barista who speaks in British slang, a Buddhist jogger and supernumerary Montenegrins. O’Reilly himself shows up as an androgynous stoner who claims to have slept with pretty much the entire Woodstock lineup. If this play were an outfit on Project Runway, Tim Gunn would adjust his glasses and say, “That’s a lotta look.”

At times, O’Reilly succeeds in creating a multivocal cacophony that sounds like modern-day chatter pushed into overdrive. The Eeyorish hero provides a good counterbalance to the noise and has some insightful observations on aging (he points out that just because you’ve become less desirable doesn’t mean you have less desire). Still, the script is in dire need of editing. Three acts’ worth of wackiness and logorrhea is an act and a half too much.

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