An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf 

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A depressed multimillionaire, Victor, bent on starving to death in a restaurant catering only to him is at the center of Michael Hollinger's play. But John Coriell's disaffected portrayal works only when Victor quotes Hemingway, not when he tells his own life story. Aimlessly pacing the stage and stumbling over some lines, Coriell lacks the charisma that would explain the cafe staff's loving loyalty. It falls to the supporting actors to give the show flavor, and director Lauren Golanty sometimes pushes the farce too hard. But the performers in this Appetite Theatre production fare well when they work in an honest or happily offhanded manner (Chris Maher and Alexandra Main are particularly good). Though the play's mix of philosophical seriousness and broad silliness is intriguing, we don't quite get stuffed on laughs and provocative musings the way we'd like. Through 12/12: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. No show Thu 11/25. Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 773-275-1931. $12-$15.

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