Snow | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Snow 

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Snow, Next Theatre Company. After their car drives off an icy road during a blizzard and lands in a ditch, a bickering couple in their twilight years find themselves stranded. Unable to walk to safety or push their car free, they argue, reminisce, reconcile, and ultimately resign themselves to their fate--barring a miracle, they will die here. The image of being stuck, lonely, and unable to stave off decay may be an accurate if grim metaphor for old age and a long, loveless marriage. It also effectively describes Tom Szentgyorgyi's sputtering play, which spins its wheels until it ends up in a hopeless rut.

Szentgyorgyi has given his characters intriguing biographies. Hal, the son of a vaudeville performer, is an anal math teacher and frustrated novelist who neglects to keep either a bag of sand or a cell phone in his car. Billie is a movie freak and frustrated dreamer who once attempted suicide. But these idiosyncrasies feel tacked onto a situation as familiar as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and as old as the Bickersons. Five minutes into Snow, you get the drift.

Any play that boasts the wonderfully gruff James Deuter and the puckish Mary Ann Thebus will not be completely devoid of merit. But their characters are neither compelling enough nor their snappy dialogue credible enough to sustain interest in a snowbound exercise weighed down by hackneyed symbolism, plodding fantasy sequences, and a conclusion that's just slightly less predictable than that of Waiting for Godot.

--Adam Langer

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