Jailbait

By Deidre O’Connorjailbait profiles theatre

Directed by Joe Jahraus

Jailbait Hooks Audience

In this Midwest Premiere, Diedre O’Connor has written a charming, very clever coming of age story where all of the characters — the obviously adult males as well as the winsome teenage girls – grow and gain in maturity.

From the moment the play opens and Claire quickly hides her Teddy Bear under her pillow so that Emma, who has come to spend the night, will not see it, we know that these two girls — emerging from childhood — are chafing at being merely 15. We watch them preen and pose, apply makeup and prepare to pass for 21 in order to spend a social evening at a “club.”

jailbait profiles theatre

Emmy, played with delicious verve by Zoe Levin, is a sex pistol. Wise – or seemingly wise beyond her years – hers is the voice of experience, determined to lead her friend astray.   Rae Gray presents a Claire that is perfect as the shy, insecure, young friend, only too willing to follow. Both girls exemplify youth, beauty, inexperience, and a touching bravado.

Tonight will be their night. (Or will it?)

The same situation – the voice of experience tempting a willing but hesitant partner – is echoed in the scene between the two, 30-something men.  Eric Burgher, who captures all the painful nuances of a man damaged by a recent romantic breakup, plays Robert.   His aggressive buddy Mark, vividly portrayed by Shane Kenyon, pushes him to move on in his life, to enjoy distraction, to come to the “club.”  Here is another successful seduction, priming our expectations for the meeting between the two pairs: the lovely, dolled up nymphets and the potential predators who will believe they are of age – and behave accordingly!

The characters play off against each other – and against our original expectations.  None of them is as one-dimensional as they originally appear. The facades are stripped away – and to say more than this would be a spoiler.

Playwright O’Conn0r explores the longings of youth, the hopes of rekindling love, and the meaning (or meaninglessness) of casual sex with clear, decisive dialogue and perceptive plot twists, and, under Joe Jahraus’s skilled direction, the fine cast does justice to her work.

Recommended

Beverly Friend

friend@oakton.edu

Date Reviewed: September 1, 2010

Jeff Recommended

For full show information, check out the Jailbait page at TheatreInChicago.

At Profiles Theatre, 4147 N. Broadway, www.profilestheatre.org, (773) 549-1815, tickets $30-35 ($5 discount for seniors and students), runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m. through Oct. 17, running time 85 minutes without intermission. Open seating. Parking is available for $10-$11 at 4100 Clarendon (one block east of the theatre at the corner of Clarendon and Belle Plaine).