Sailing From the Moon | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Sailing From the Moon 

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Sailing From the Moon, Smoke & Mirrors Productions, at the Viaduct Theater. There's not much new in Nick Jones's new play about twentysomethings struggling to get laid--and find meaning in doing so. George reads philosophy, maintains his virginity, and fantasizes about female purity. Then he falls for tough girl Jamie, who wears a T-shirt announcing "Fuck" and is in love with smarmy, pretentious, unfaithful Charles. Their various pairings and unpairings play out in George's stereotypically messy apartment or in the neighborhood coffeehouse, imparting a Friends-like quality to the evening. There's much pointless swearing and even a hooker (well, phone-sex operator) with a heart of gold. But romantics rejoice: the happy ending is rather touching, if utterly predictable. And Jones might have something if he develops his unexpressed theme: that every male behavior style is an expression of impotence.

This is the company's maiden production, and new work is challenging even for experienced troupes. Greg Johnson as George and Kerri Van Auken as Jamie fare best because their characters are supposed to be raw and awkward. Clumsy writing gives every scene the feel of an acting exercise, and Kisa Lickert's direction is either transparent or absent. At the other extreme, the fight scenes--gratuitous in any case--are so overchoreographed (by Kevin Murphy) that they bring the action to a grinding halt, as does Peter Anderson's cumbersome set. Fortunately Jones and Lickert's strong sound design keeps things humming along.

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