The farce Fuddy Meers makes a critic long for amnesia | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

The farce Fuddy Meers makes a critic long for amnesia 

None of the characters can be trusted, empathized with, or even tolerated for very long.

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Katherine Siegel

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre presents David Lindsay-Abaire's nails-on-a-chalkboard farce about a woman whose amnesia makes each day a completely blank slate. When Claire wakes up she doesn't remember she's married with a son, whether she drinks coffee, or even her own name. Her husband has helpfully put together a book of facts and photos of her life that he hopes will help her day go smoother. But can he be trusted?

I'll spare you the suspense: the answer is an emphatic no. In fact, no one in this play, from Claire's stroke-impaired mother to the hideously deformed kidnapper who poses as her brother to his mentally challenged, sock-puppet-wearing underling can be trusted, empathized with, or even tolerated for very long.

The title of this bonanza of ugliness and cruelty is a mispronunciation of "funny mirrors," as in the distorting kind found at the carnival. Due to her stroke, Claire's mother's speech is slurred to such an extent that half her lines are rendered unintelligible. No doubt it's the playwright's intent to make this and every other grotesque impediment—of which there are dozens, generously doled out to every miserable participant—an evocation of Claire's nightmarish daily plight. But because Claire is neither likable nor compelling in any way, none of the grotesquery that befalls her comes off as earned or impactful. This is one Punch and Judy show all concerned should be thankful to forget. Katherine Siegel directed.   v

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