Jeff Stryker Does Hard Time | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Jeff Stryker Does Hard Time 

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JEFF STRYKER DOES HARD TIME, Bailiwick Repertory. Iconic gay porn star Jeff Stryker has one amazing talent: he keeps his walrus-size penis just short of a full erection while stroking it before a crowd of gay men. Those five minutes come at the end of Jeff Stryker Does Hard Time, a purported prison comedy; for the preceding 90 minutes Stryker keeps all his talents--including the one everybody paid to see--strictly under wraps.

If you're looking for the theatrical equivalent of a roadside accident, rush now to get your ticket. This convoluted mess of unmotivated encounters is such a horror it's mesmerizing. Most of the supporting cast, wandering through fragmentary scenes that lead nowhere, seem either underrehearsed or autistic (the outstanding exception is Cory A. Krebsbach, who finds genuine humor in the pansied-out role of Queenie). And given Stryker's surreal action-figure physique and otherworldly baritone, he may be a separate species. Plus he's buried every natural impulse so completely he might as well be acting from inside 20 feet of poured concrete.

The "play" is summarily jettisoned for Stryker's semitumescent finale, and his sudden appearance--which the press release describes as "Jeff Stryker style nudity"--is so jarring it's like being hit in the face with a shovel. Darn the luck, there isn't even room to crawl under the seats.

--Justin Hayford

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