A Merry Jewish Christmas | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

A Merry Jewish Christmas 

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A plot twist and a scene featuring prayers performed in a made-up sign language almost save this predictable comedy--but not quite. Josh Levine's one-act about a gay Jewish man coming out to his family while concealing that his longtime lover is not Jewish steals shamelessly from every Abie's Irish Rose comedy in history, with particular overuse of clashing iconography (eggnog versus Chinese food, wreath versus dreidel). Here we also get a leather harness, jokes about pornography, and a topical reference to gay marriage, but it's still the same old same old: Jewish women are overbearing, Jewish men are henpecked, Jewish families are tiresome. Jeremy Wechsler directs with economy but allows his actors to stereotype even more than the script does. He and the playwright should be censured, either by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League or the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Actors and Audiences. Through 1/2: Thu 8 PM, Sat 6 PM, Sun 3 PM. Fri 12/31, 7 PM. Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-883-1090. $22.50-$25; $30 Fri 12/31 (includes postshow reception).

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