Snake Charmer | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Snake Charmer 

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Snake Charmer, Black Forest Productions, at Cafe Voltaire. This play features one trim actor (Jon Smeenge) who strips down to a snakeskin thong a few minutes into the action and four actresses (Carla Hayden, Karyl Kelly, Kristin Sztengel, and Maria Perantinides) in various states of undress--one wears a corset, one a girdle with stockings, one pj's with the top unbuttoned, one a slip and panties. In the right hands this play about a man apparently dying in a hospital and hallucinating about a foursome of succubi--who sometimes appear as nurses, sometimes as insects--who've come to torture and tease him could have been a sexy, offensive bit of exploitation. But James Moeller, who wrote this murky, vague, pretentious play, chose to direct it himself, guaranteeing that the weakest elements of the script--the gassy speeches, the pointless dance sequences, the incoherent story--survived unedited. Not that there's much to salvage. But a good director might have been able to tell Moeller his play makes no sense most of the time.

--Jack Helbig

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