Saturday, October 06, 2007

When the Messenger Is Hot

Photo/Jay Geneske

Laura Eason's adaptation suffers from multiple-personality disorder. The underlying core of Elizabeth Crane's When the Messenger is Hot makes for some fine anti-romantic comedy, but Steppenwolf needs more time in development. This collection of short stories is still disjointed and repetitious, and the eighty minutes aren't nearly as fast as the narrative patter. In truth, the play seems a little too hastily assembled, and the few moments that work are either focussed on the stronger plot of a mother seemingly returned from the dead, or on her daughter's inevitable coming to terms with her grief. These moments are adeptly handled by the foul-mouthed charmer of a mother (Molly Regan) and the rational-in-all-things-but-love daughter (Kate Arrington), but they're muddled by the constant stream of men (all similarly played by Coburn Goss) and the other Josies (Lauren Katz and Amy Warren, fine actresses who just seem out of place here). Beneath all that clutter, how can we see the messenger?

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