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If playwright Sheila Callaghan had trusted her characters, she might have written a fine play. The relationship she creates between grad student roommates Anima, a drunken party girl, and Christa, an anal-retentive academic, is borderline Neil Simon schematic. But in Libby Ford's Collision Theatre Company production, a committed cast makes the women's fervent struggle to maintain their friendship while falling in love with the same man disarmingly poignant. Callaghan reveals keen insights into the human heart, yet for every meaningful plot step forward she indulges in a half dozen quirky, overwritten digressions: choral singing of James Taylor songs, nightmarish intrusions by Anima's Leave It to Beaver family, advice-giving visitations from an androgynous Virgin Mary. These attempts to make things "interesting" are simply wearisome. --Justin Hayford a Through 5/19: Wed-Sat 8 PM, EP Theater, 1820 S. Halsted, 312-281-8041, $10-$15.


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