Toyer | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Toyer 

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Toyer, East Window Theatre Company, at the Greenview Arts Center. A play featuring a psychopath who lobotomizes his prey promises some nice, squirmy fun--and even more fun when his adversary is a police psychiatrist who may become his next victim. But the only way playwright Gardner McKay can stretch this two-character battle of wits to 90 minutes is to have both psychopath and psychiatrist engage in one thoughtless risk after another. The allegedly experienced and professional therapist is so gullible, in fact, that we wonder how she's managed to stay ahead of her patients all these years.

East Window director Adam Joyce inadvertently compounds the problem by casting the burly Chris Maher as Peter: his size alone would make him threatening even if he were only the harmless voyeur the character initially claims to be. In the role of the clueless shrink, the delicate-voiced Kat McDonnell is vulnerable from the start; between the two of them, there's little allowance for varying the dynamic. The technical team attempts to punch up the action with video clips from House of Wax and The Wicker Man on the heroine's TV, tragic arias from Idomeneo and Madama Butterfly on her stereo, and creepy noises from nowhere in particular. But the idiocy of the script requires a suspension of disbelief commensurate with self-inflicted lobotomy.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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