Life and Limb | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Life and Limb 

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Keith Reddin's uncompromising 1984 black comedy offers a bleak look at damaged goods in the optimistic Eisenhower era, chronicling the bad breaks befalling a one-armed Korean war veteran afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder and a confused, unfaithful wife. (The Iraq fiasco makes the play all too contemporary.) As if earth weren't noxious enough, the couple ends up literally going to hell, a cesspool of cruel conformism and regimentation. Though a tad too minimalist in its props and decor, Audrey Francis's earnest staging for Pine Box Theatre Company wisely takes the play's cruelty seriously, conferring some dignity on the damned all-American couple (Jonathan Edwards and Anne Adams, heartbreakingly ordinary). But the show's onstage smoking turns nostalgia toxic: we don't need this much accuracy. Through 2/12: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre, first-floor studio theater, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500, $15, industry nights Fri 1/20 and 1/28.

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