Bonnie & Clyde-Wanted | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Bonnie & Clyde-Wanted 

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Bonnie & Clyde--Wanted, Feral Theatre Company, at the Organic Theater Greenhouse, Lab Theater. Playgoers who fondly recall the extravagant passion and violence of Arthur Penn's romantic 1967 film need fear no competition from Feral Theatre's Bonnie & Clyde--Wanted. This work, jointly devised by the company, acquaints us at great length with the domestic problems of the Barrow gang members without ever conveying with any immediacy or in any detail the circumstances that engender the strife: i.e., robbery, murder, and pursuit by the law. They're enough to put a strain on any relationship.

The result is dramatic tension as petty as the thieves. Their bloody deeds are either noted perfunctorily, to set up yet another this-is-how-we-feel conversation, or executed so casually that the cordite fumes are all that remind us a shooting has taken place. Since good times can be appreciated only in the context of bad times, this imbalance reduces the play to marital-therapy role-playing games.

It's pretty unfortunate, too, since unimpeachable care has been taken with the production values: Derbhile Maher and Christopher Fabie's sound design almost succeeds in generating some excitement within the textual vacuum, and the acting reflects extensive attention to character exploration and motivation (especially in the work of Tim O'Shea and Dina Gardner, whose numerous characters are at once vivid and entertaining). But two hours of better-than-average scene-study exercises are still unlikely to interest anyone but the participants.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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