Wolfie 'n' Me at the Foul Line | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Wolfie 'n' Me at the Foul Line 

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WOLFIE 'N' ME AT THE FOUL LINE, Curious Theatre Branch, at the Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe. When you're "on the dog side of 30" and smoke vintage high-nicotine cigarettes, playground basketball would seem a pretty safe pastime. But violence has a way of intruding into the most idyllic existence when you're a mafioso type living in Brooklyn, especially when your best friend is a loudmouthed grandstander like Wolfie, who can't bear to lose a game.

Wolfie 'n' Me at the Foul Line is a one-man show laced like a pair of Nikes with sports jargon, but you don't have to know a dunk from a doughnut to follow this tough/tender tale. In order to save the undeserving Wolfie's skin, Leon ultimately defies Gino "Gin 'n' Tonic," Parmesan Tony, Ernie Thacker and his twin cousin Pook, even his all-powerful Uncle Louis. These characters and their boastful macho milieu, where people die but nobody ever gets hurt, are fairly generic but redeemed by the writing and acting: Beau O'Reilly's broken-glass lyricism--he gives a jump shot "the grace and charm of an old-fashioned priest laying the wafer of life on the tip of a devout Catholic tongue"--and Benjamin Rayner's ingenuous Leon. Almost in spite of ourselves, we begin to care about the lovable jerks O'Reilly and Rayner bring to life.

At 45 minutes, Wolfie ' n' Me at the Foul Line is not a complete narrative, but there are hints of a lengthier treatment to come. In the meantime, this show is a winning, coherent introduction to some intriguing characters, as well as an auspicious piece for the newly founded Lunar Cabaret.

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