Fox, and His Friend Rabbit | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Fox, and His Friend Rabbit 

FOX, AND HIS FRIEND RABBIT, Half Cocked Productions, at the Space. To paraphrase the old saw about doctors who treat themselves: a playwright who stages his own work has a fool for a director. Wearing two hats is crazy: even the best writer needs an outside eye--and it's a rare director who can find the time, in the midst of rehearsals, to do rewrites.

Arik Martin should have looked for someone else to direct his dark, comic, Tarantino-esque thriller about two low-life losers attempting to get away with murder. Someone should have forced him to tighten up the first few scenes--which unfold with agonizing slowness--and flesh out the ending: Martin wraps up the story so quickly he leaves dozens of loose ends untied.

Yet parts of the play are quite effective, particularly Martin's use of a device that recalls Sam Shepard--a tongue-in-cheek Native American narrator who introduces each scene. And the fine cast is fully committed to the play and willing to do anything to make it work. But Martin proves his own worst enemy, attempting to goose his drama by escalating the play's gross-out factor: blood, sadomasochism, brutal violence, exposed penises, one man being forced at gunpoint to fellate another--Martin packs it all in, when all he really needed to do was tell a focused, coherent story.

--Jack Helbig

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