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Thursday May 25, 2017
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Corktown

 

continued

You can't meet much cuter than this. Joey has shot and is about to dismember Jenny when she wakes up. They fall in love in the usual two-hour rom-com way, trading saucy banter, but--something to tell the grandkids!--bullets fly while Jenny trips over body parts and makes mac and cheese. By the end, the stage is awash with blood, and nearly everyone has both shot someone and been shot. The scary mob boss is played by Tom Whalen, who continues to surprise me. I'd never have guessed he had a sociopath in him, but a bit he does in the beginning, dancing around the stage eagerly prodding dead bodies like a kid poking Christmas presents under the tree, is about as chilling a performance as I've seen.

And meanwhile, the rom-com deconstructs. Toward the end, Jenny turns to Joey and begs plaintively, "Take me with you." I'm guessing about 80 percent of damsel-in-distress Westerns contain this line, but here it's not strictly formulaic. Jenny, unlike old-style damsels, is quite capable of leaving without him. That's the kind of queasy sport Corktown makes of romantic comedy, and to tell you the truth, I'm not sure the playwright is completely in on the joke.

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