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Review: F**king Men (Street Tempo Theatre)

By Chicagotheaterbeat @chitheaterbeat

Review: F**king Men (Street Tempo Theatre)   
  
F**king Men 

Written by Joe DiPietro  
Directed by Scott Olson
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru April 15  |  tickets: $20-$28   |  more info
  
Check for half-price tickets 
  
  
   Read entire review
  


     

     

Moments of humor and honesty amidst despair 

     

Review: F**king Men (Street Tempo Theatre)

  

Street Tempo Theatre presents

  

F**king Men

Review by Anuja Vaidya

In case the name of the play has drawn up visions of women bonding over the horribleness that is the male sex, I should probably begin by saying that there isn’t a single woman in the play. Not only are there no female characters, the show has absolutely nothing to do with women. It is, as a character tells us, an exploration of the urban gay male and his search for a meaningful connection with another man. An interesting exploration, though it may be, the show takes a while to warm up and, at times, fails to captivate.

Review: F**king Men (Street Tempo Theatre)
The play essentially explores different types of relationships between gay men – older man-younger man, open relationship, monogamous relationship, army men who don’t want to admit that they are gay and famous men who are hiding the fact. In a series of vignettes, we get a slice of what life is like for these men. Each story is connected to the other and the show as a whole flows well. Even the sometimes-graphic nature of the vignette is handled with tact overall.

Overall, there is a sense of loneliness and even despair permeating through the show, but Street Tempo Theatre does a good job of injecting humor into it. Witty one-liners stops this from becoming a show of lonely souls, stumbling through life. It also ends on an uplifting note, with at least some of the characters getting what they want.

The success of each vignette seems to rest on the prowess of the actors in them. Some give skilled performances and those vignettes are the ones that stay in your mind after the lights come on. Others, unfortunately, fall flat and so do those vignettes. The opening of the play, the first few stories in particular, just don’t hit the mark. They lack honesty, making the actors seem unnatural and the stories seem meaningless. I would have written the play off, had it not picked up the pace.

The latter half delivers some wonderful, raw and honest moments, which brings a level of warmth and sensitivity to the production that it was sorely missing. Jack Bourgeois and Scott Olson are especially wonderful as the insecure but endearing playwright and the cynical journalist. I wish they had been in a vignette together, but each shone within the framework of their own story. Bourgeois has wonderful comic timing, and in the short amount of time he has onstage, he manages to expose the cracks beneath the surface of a character who seems to be nursing some deep-set insecurities. Olson brings a maturity to his performance that makes us really feel for him, but we also understand why he made the choices that he did.

F**king Men unflinchingly discusses the trials of being a gay man searching for love, or at the very least, a way to not be lonely. But this play succeeds in truly focusing on the "difficulties of making meaningful connections" part rather than the sexual orientation. The fact that these men are gay is just another barrier that they need to overcome in the journey to finding what we all want – someone to keep us company as we masquerade through life. However, this production still needs some tweaking before it can become a truly heartfelt exploration.

  

Rating: ★★½

  

  

F**king Men continues through April 15th at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map), with performances Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 9pm, Sundays 3pm.  Tickets are $20-$28, and are available by phone (773.327.5252) or online through Stage773.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at Stage773.com.  (Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes, no intermission)

Review: F**king Men (Street Tempo Theatre)
Review: F**king Men (Street Tempo Theatre)

Review: F**king Men (Street Tempo Theatre)
Review: F**king Men (Street Tempo Theatre)

Review: F**king Men (Street Tempo Theatre)

Photos by Brian Work Photography 


     

artists

cast

Jayme Wojciechowski (John), Tyler Vaughn (Steve), Luke Van Marter (Marco), Will Johnson (Kyle), Marcus Farne (Leo), Dan Planz (Jack), Rob Ibanez (Ryan), Scott Olson (Donald), Jack Bourgeois (Sammy), Patrick Hurlburt (Brandon)

behind the scenes

Scott Olson (director); Abby Amey (stage manager); Laura Wilson (costume design); Katie Johnston Smith (production manager); Emily Claibourne (technical director); Claire Chrzan (lighting); Nicholas Kelm (sound design); Coco Ree Lemery (set painter); Ian Blinstrup (set builder); Danni Parpan (props master); Brian Work Photography (photos)

Review: F**king Men (Street Tempo Theatre)

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