Power Strokes | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Power Strokes 

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Power Strokes, Bailiwick Repertory. Part of Bailiwick's Pride Series 2001, this late-night show is a gay Pretty Woman but without charm, a comprehensible plot, or Richard Gere. Brock is a prostitute with a seemingly endless supply of multicolored designer underwear who dreams of a knight in a white Lamborghini. Alton (played mechanically by Ron Guthrie) is the bitter, cold middle-aged movie producer who keeps calling him back. At least he says he's a producer. Playwright David Gaard throws in some vague references to a movie Alton's making with Susan Sarandon, but the details of his life are so unconvincing he might as well be an accountant. Brock's character is equally thin, but Daniel Rangel infuses him with warmth, tenderness, and eroticism. If Brock never quite seems a hooker, at least he's human.

As directed by David Zak, Gaard's play delivers flashes of humor, especially when the two men act out Alton's fantasies. But too much of it is trite fluff. The script tentatively touches on such interesting issues as gay identity and the gay beauty culture, then veers away before exploring them. And by the middle of this 90-minute show, the men's trysts have begun to feel repetitive and dull. Power Strokes offers plenty of buff nudity but nothing revealing.

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