Directed by Nick Digilio
Produced by Raven Theatre
and Vault 13 Productions
At Raven Theatre’s West Stage
Too much screaming and shouting dooms cliche-ridden sports bar comedy
Set in a Northside Chicago tavern, Black and Blue is the story of two brothers in a life-long argument over baseball. Jake (Anthony Tournis) is a diehard Cubs fan while his brother Tommy (Greg Caldwell) is a diehard White Sox fan. The play covers the ten years of Inter-league between the two Chicago baseball teams. The brothers bet which team (the Cubs or the White Sox) will more games against the other in a ten year period from 1997 thru 2007. This sports comedy is 90 minutes of screaming, shouting, and arguments between the two brothers and an assortment of bar patrons and the boy’s father.
It seems that over ten years, the arguments erupt each time the Cubs play the White Sox. This sports comedy has a few laughs and there are many baseball and Chicago pop cultural references but the directorial decision by Nick Digilio to have Jake and Tommy so extreme emotional as expressed in the shouting at the top of their lungs constantly almost made me want to put my hands over my ears. As each argument erupted or one team won a game, the entire cast screamed and screamed and screamed.
If all the sports cliches and silly arguments were the essence of Jake and Tommy’s life, they sure needed to expand their interests. Only a committed baseball fan could care about these guys. What irritated me most was the long series of games year by year that droned on producing the constant argument who is better – the Cubs or the White Sox. Who care? 90 minutes of screaming and the razor-thin script made for a long show. Since I never go to sports bars because they are filled ignorant, loud-mouthed working class stiffs who down beers and get so emotional about a game, I can’t relate to Black and Blue. Add the over-the-top too-loud performances and this show was torture. I was especially repulsed by the much too emotional (and loud) performance by Anthony Tournis as Jake. Only a true beer-drinking sports fanatic could enjoy this crude show but those guys are too busy drinking beer in some neighborhood bar to ever attend theatre. Sports fans can get a dose of the screaming and arguing in any sports bar and get a beer to boot so this imitation is superfluous. Maybe if the toned down the noise a lot, we could enjoy this show- maybe.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: June 14, 2013
For more info checkout the Black and Blue page at theatreinchicago.com
At Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark, Chicago, IL, call 773-338-2177, www.raventheatre.com, tickets $25, $20 for seniors, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3:30 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through June 28, 2013