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Precious Mettle Theatre Company makes its debut with Julian Sheppard's amusing if derivative comedy about Bill, a car salesman who hits the road with his Latina receptionist, Naranja, when his wife and kids abandon him. Kevin Fox's staging is adept, and David Parkes delivers a finely detailed portrait of Bill, which helps make the character's cliched behavior easier to accept. Chicago newcomer Liza Fernandez also impresses as the whip-smart Naranja. But even glowing performances can't shift the play out of neutral: it remains yet another story, a la Sideways, about a schlumpy guy in midlife crisis who gets a hot babe to recharge his batteries. Through 8/28: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Side Studio, 1520 W. Jarvis, 773-989-0760. $15.

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