Lost in Translation | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Lost in Translation 

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Lost in Translation, at the Playground Theater. The Playground is often an incubator for new talent--and it's all too obvious that the ensemble members in the late-night revue Lost in Translation are in the early stages of their comedy careers. Their sketches, directed at a brisk pace by Joe Janes, just aren't very funny: the scenes are so bland we glean only an inkling of their original purpose. Some ideas are promising--a creepy guy brainwashing his girlfriend about what love is or a mother instructing her daughter to wish only for practical things. But they fizzle out, with too much buildup for an underplayed punch line.

Jackie Rosepal and Tracey Ellert bring some energy to their roles, but all four performers fail to develop any depth, and Jamie Buell and Bobby Hoffman merely deliver their lines. In one telling instance Hoffman takes the stage to recite a "vagina monologue," playing a character we've seen previously, but the personality is so vague we miss the joke. In another scene the two men depict bickering Russian masseurs, speaking in what is presumably Russian--so most audience members have no idea what's being said.

The show earns a few laughs, but most of its intended humor gets lost in mediocre performances and misguided writing.

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