Contents May Be Extremely Hot | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Contents May Be Extremely Hot 

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Meeting a girl in a coffee shop causes a bartending Lothario to mature, while his female friend plans a wedding to a guy who's getting cold feet. Phalanx Theater's 90-minute site-specific true-to-life play, conceived by Jenny Connell and developed by Joe Tracz and the ensemble, is both funny and dramatically rich. Its twentysomething characters struggle to balance love, intellectual challenges, and infatuation in overlapping interactions in the coffee shop. But in Ellie Heyman's stylized production, they also enact fantasy sequences illustrating erotic possibilities, ecstasy, and other hidden feelings. This creative choice helps overcome the space's technical limitations. If only the penultimate scene's improvisations didn't feel so forced: this otherwise scripted show comes to an abrupt end. Through 4/16: Sat-Sun 8 PM, Swim Cafe, 1357 W. Chicago, 773-573-0378, $7.

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