The Wall of Water | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Wall of Water 

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THE WALL OF WATER, Adult Swim Ensemble, at the Chopin Theatre. It takes playwright Sherry Kramer only ten minutes to make you hate her three main characters. Judy, Denise, and Meg--who couldn't muster a complete personality among them--are saddled with mentally unstable roommate Wendi, who's fond of running around screaming when not attempting to mutilate herself with a kitchen knife. While Judy and Denise treat this gravely ill woman like a bothersome puppy, Meg simply plans to kill her. And we're supposed to care about the ensuing romantic entanglements of this cretinous trio.

Kramer stuffs her hateful creations into an elaborately pointless semifarce so full of wacky twists it seems to restart every 20 minutes or so. It's a poor choice for the Adult Swim Ensemble's inaugural production, made more problematic by the cast's habit of confusing noise with comedy. Director Brian Loevner keeps every inch of the women's apartment in full view at all times, leaving out-of-scene actors to mill about indecisively while the real action goes on elsewhere. With no ability to focus the action, Loevner can't create a coherent stage world--the one thing that might have rescued The Wall of Water from triviality--and his production ends up spinning out of control. --Justin Hayford


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