Sir | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Sir 

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SIR, Bailiwick Repertory. Too blasphemous for the faithful, too kinky for the vanilla, too vanilla for the thrill-seeking, Scott Lee Heckman's Sir is an underachieving how-to workshop for those uninitiated in the ways of a gay leather bottom pain pig. A flip chart maps out the narrative vignettes that constitute this one-man hour-long show, an explanation of Heckman's own "spiritual journey" from born-again Christian to sibilant leather man. Calling prayer circles as judgmental and catty as any gay brunch, he reminisces about a trip to a Wisconsin Menard's where straight men bought tools for home remodeling projects while his purchases were used as testicle crushers and other torture utensils in scenes with a restaurant manager from Schaumburg.

Decked out in leather vest, cutoffs, nipple ring, and earnest smile, Heckman establishes an easy rapport with the audience as he explains how Christian fundamentalism and the kinky urban gay community are kindred spirits of sorts. Baptism by water or urine, daddy top or father god--what's the difference? With their talk of the body as vessel and submission to an authority figure, religious fundamentalists and the sexually kinky are only instruction manuals apart.

But this potentially amusing story, barely directed by Susan Nussbaum and acted on a single note by Heckman, is surprisingly dull and insightless even as it aims to shock--it will have little relevance outside leatherdom and Bailiwick's Pride Series (yes, he gets naked). This is a niche tale that might have had wider appeal, but Sir is not the mechanism, nor is Heckman the chosen scribe.

--Erik Piepenburg

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