Go By Night | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Go By Night 

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Go By Night, Bailiwick Repertory. Australian playwright Stephen House's 70-minute one-man show features a gay youth searching for love and identity through sex, substance abuse, and violence. Kevin Moore performs in this U.S. premiere, part of Bailiwick's Pride 2001 series, as Johnny Boy, the angry teen living on the streets after years in a youth home. He hangs out with a "scummy circus" of pals until he's forced to move on by shame over his growing passion for his friend Dog and fear that his beloved buddy will find out he's working as a gay prostitute. He then gets deeper into drugs and finds fleeting happiness as the cross-dressing Johnny Girl, but we know early on that there will be no happy ending for this youth riding the highs and lows of heroin and whoring.

Johnny's downward spiral is made all the more predictable by Moore's performance. There's nothing unique or captivating about the character, and as directed by David Zak, Moore rushes through the scenes so that Johnny's ups and downs simply wash over us. The poetry in House's script is jarring here because Moore gives Johnny so little genuine personality. He fares better in some of the brief characterizations of people in Johnny's life, but in the central role Moore is obviously just an actor delivering lines.

--Jenn Goddu


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