Jonathan Wild | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Jonathan Wild 

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Jonathan Wild, Victory Gardens Theater. By day playwright Stuart Flack is a partner at the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company--and his latest play is just the sort of safe little piece you'd expect from someone with no interest in disturbing the status quo. The plot wouldn't be out of place on TV: two comfortable corporate types, workaholic Dave and just-getting-by Larry, cope with the sudden appearance of their erstwhile buddy Dex, a fanatical environmentalist who may be responsible for at least one Unabomber-like murder.

In some plays someone like Dex--committed, obsessive, with a certain psychotic charm--might shake all the other characters out of their middle-aged, middle-class complacency. But nothing wakes Larry and Dave from their dogmatic slumbers. They end the play the same boring nonentities they were at the beginning. What's worse, you get the impression Flack loves them for their inertia. These guys will never disrupt the great American moneymaking machine or even spend a moment wondering if it's all worth the effort they've put into it.

Shallow characters mar Flack's play, but what makes it intolerable is the fact that he pads his 45-minute story into a full 90 minutes with lots of digressive talk, mostly male-bonding bullshit about the Cubs.

--Jack Helbig

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