31-The Spiritual Journey of an Accountant | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

31-The Spiritual Journey of an Accountant 

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31--THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY OF AN ACCOUNTANT, Palookaville, at Link's Hall. Roy Peabody bases his play on a poignant, all too familiar problem: on his 31st birthday, lackluster accountant Bill Williamson suddenly realizes his life sucks, his job is boring, and his coworkers are assholes. He freaks. Unfortunately, Peabody creates from this premise a talky two-act monologue interrupted by occasional bits of conversation.

This wouldn't be so bad if Palookaville director Paul Hertel had found a lead actor with a knack for long, literate speechifying in the vein of Beau O'Reilly (though Peabody's writing rarely reaches the heights of O'Reilly's prose). Instead he found the likable but bland Brian Beach, who delivers all his lines--from wry comments about the coffee to soul-searing descriptions of his mental breakdown--in the same Boston-accented drone. Hertel directs the entire production in this awkward, let's-just-get-through-it style, which typifies the worst of Chicago's off-off-Loop scene.

Compounding the error, Hertel surrounds Beach with similarly nice but boring performers who can't manage to breathe life into their characters. The worst of the supporting cast even resorts to a couple of offensive ethnic stereotypes--buck-toothed Chinese waiters and the like--to carry him through the script, which desperately needs lots and lots of cutting and reshaping. --Jack Helbig

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