Featuring Loretta 

Featuring Loretta, Cenacle Theater Company, at the Pilsen Theatre. This is my least favorite of George F. Walker's six plays set in an anonymous suburban motel, lacking the comic buoyancy of Criminal Genius and the dramatic power of Problem Child and Adult Entertainment.

Loretta is an attractive woman seeking to make money quickly. Her husband was recently eaten by a bear and she's pregnant, which gives her only a few months to use her body to make a buck. She's just met Michael, who wants to get her into porno films, and dumped Dave, a needy salesman who made the mistake of interfering with one of her career options. Loretta's only other friend in town is the motel's Russian maid, Sophie.

This entertaining production actually improved my opinion of the play. Director Sergi Bosch and his cast give the characters depth and bring Walker's humor to the forefront. Despite some artificial gestures and overblown reactions, Craig Degel and Paul J. Baio as Dave and Michael are amusing as they compete for Loretta. Ingrid Bonne is great fun, making Sophie more than a mere caricature, and Hillary Lynn Goldsher gives Loretta's single-minded determination many layers and emotional nuances. Still, all their fine work can't conceal the play's lack of dramatic urgency.

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