Men in Suits | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Men in Suits 

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Men in Suits, TinFish Theatre. Two hit men knifing the wrong guy might suggest farce. But refreshingly, Jason Milligan has written a drama about two childhood friends facing questions of loyalty, trust, respect, and retribution. There are light moments in this 75-minute play, directed by Laurie Kladis, but the focus is on the pressure of being a hired killer who's messed up and now must tell his boss.

Jon Frazier is the boyish Bobby, a former garbageman brought into a life of crime by his longtime buddy. Reid Ostrowski is the more philosophical Max, who recently decided he wants out. The actors are well cast and play off each other deftly, but the uneven power dynamic would be enhanced if Bobby were less polished and Max more menacing. Also, the first act is strong but the second fizzles. This is partly Milligan's fault: the Boss's metaphor-heavy dialogue gets old fast. And Greg Lackner's portrayal lacks clarity, undermining the Boss's credibility as a threat. Dragan Torbica's thoughtful sound design ("Like a Virgin" Muzak plays in a pancake house when Max talks about a new start) adds the right ambience, but Kladis and her actors need to step up the dramatic tension and do more than just hint at gritty violence and volatile masculinity.

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