Other Funny Stories About Cancer | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Other Funny Stories About Cancer 

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For the last three years twentysomething monologuist Brian Lobel has been touring festivals, universities, and medical schools with Ball, his "traumedy" about surviving testicular cancer. By his own admission, he worked overtime to keep that piece tidy and inspirational (it runs July 26-August 27 at Bailiwick Repertory as part of Bailiwick's "Pride 2006" series). In this dishy, messy sequel he explains tongue in cheek why he left the "uncomfortable parts" out of Ball: "Trashy stories about faggotry and STDs belied my cancer's purity." In Other Funny Stories Lobel struggles to overcome not just cancer but also his self-loathing as a young gay man perversely bent on losing his virginity with a lesbian. Director Margot Bordelon sometimes gives Lobel too long an emotional leash, and the show's disparate narrative strains lead to an eventual muddle. But Lobel has a commanding presence and an admirable eagerness to speak ugly, improper truths. It's the sort of raw, ambitious performance that Live Bait's Fillet of Solo Festival has long championed. Through 7/22: Fri-Sat 9:30 PM. Then Fri-Sat 8/11-8/12, 8:15 PM, Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark, 773-871-1212, $10-$15.

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