The Atomic View Motel | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Atomic View Motel 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

The Atomic View Motel, Boxer Rebellion Theater. There's an art to writing satire without ruffling anyone's feathers: you have to make the most commonly held beliefs sound rare and wonderful and never, never, never reveal anything new about the culture we live in. LA-based playwright Scott Seiffert has mastered this art.

The Atomic View Motel begins with all the old cliches about 50s families. Dad is a hollow man, mom is a neurotic neat freak, sis and bro are so clean-cut they squeak. They've come to the motel to see an atom bomb blast, and through unexplained means their reality becomes enmeshed with a similarly cliched 90s family: sis is a slut, bro is a goth, mom is a neurotic workaholic, and dad--well, dad is gone, replaced by a New Age-besotted Milquetoast. For two hours Seiffert repeats all the truisms about the 50s and today, creating a less interesting knockoff of Pleasantville or Blast From the Past.

Seiffert's dialogue has the chipper wittiness of a good sitcom, though his plot turns are sometimes too predictable. And like a good sitcom writer he needs a great cast to give his words the illusion of a third dimension. He does not have one here: director Steven Young has assembled a group of shouters, scenery chompers, and punch-line telegraphers. A few fine performances survive the chaos--John Carter Brown in particular makes a great Robert Young-like Dad. But they're not enough to make it worth checking in to this motel.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jack Helbig

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
20,000 Leagues Under the Seas Lookingglass Theatre Company
June 06
Performing Arts
Tempel Lipizzans Tempel Farms
June 19

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories