**** Recommended **** Goodman Theatre’s production of “Support Group for Men” was laugh-out-loud funny. Ellen Fairey’s brilliant comedy featured four clueless guys trying to figure out why their lives are so messed up. Being guys, they have to hide their need for answers behind silly rituals. 3 ½ Spotlights
Every Thursday, these four guys get together to talk about their inner feelings – and by the way, it’s exceedingly difficult for any of them to even admit to feelings. Brian (Ryan Kitley), who started the support group, is fortyish, in ‘lust’ with a twenty-something girl, and embarrassed to be admit he’s working at the Apple store.
His support group consists of
• Roger (Keith Kupferer) is a bachelor whose job is cleaning the “Bean” in Millenium Park.
• Delano (Anthony Irons), who went to school with Brian, says he’s totally in love with his wife, but she’s told him that if he wants sex, he’d better have an affair.
• Kevin (Tommy Rivera-Vega), the new guy, works for Brian at the Apple store.
The weekly meetings are held in Brian’s apartment over a bar in Boys Town. When one of the men wants to talk, he holds the ‘sacred’ bat (a baseball bat Brian decorated with feathers and shells). The other three guys have an hilarious special ritual chest-thump to signal their solidarity.
When the windows are open on a summer night, the guys are annoyed but the partying patrons of the bar downstairs and take turns yelling epithets at them. Roger takes it a step further when he knocks out the screen to pour a drink and throw food at them.
Later that night, they look down in horror as they see a red-haired woman being assaulted, and call the police. Officer Nowak (Eric Slater) is very suspicious about their bat, but Officer Caruso (Dadieh Rifai) is very interested in Roger. As soon as the police leave, the guys are startled when a red-haired person, who turns out to be Alex (Jeff Kurysz), falls out of Brian’s closet.
A special thanks to the Goodman Theatre. Since I was out of town for the opening of “Support Group for Men”, I thought I’d have to miss the show, but they were willing to let me see it even thought it was close to the end of the run. For this reason, I’m leaving out the paragraph with ticket information, etc., that I usually tack on to the end of my reviews.
In the meantime, don’t miss Stacy Keach in his one-man show, “Pamplona” running through August 19th. Next up at the Goodman, “We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time”. The Goodman Theatre is located at 170 N. Dearborn, Chicago. Most reasonable parking option is the Government Center garage on Lake between LaSalle and Dearborn: $17 if you pay in advance at www.interparkonline.com/goodmantheatre. FYI (312) 443-3800 or www.goodmantheatre.org.
Read all of my reviews at www.spotlightonlake.com.