Our Bad Magnet

By Douglas MaxwellOBM

Directed by Carlo Lorenzo Garcia

Produced by Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.

Terrific writing blends fantasies with coming of age angst

Marry-Arrchie re-mounts their 2008 production of Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell’s Our Bad Magnet with three of four cast members returning to their original roles and Lane Flores taking on the role of Giggles. This remount was as tight and effective as the original.  Below is, in essence, my observations from the 2008 production which still apply to the 2015 production:

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“Director Carlo Lorenzo Garcia from Mary-Arrchie Theatre found four adult actors adept at playing nine year-olds, teens, and adults for his entertaining production of Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell’s Our Bad Magnet. The play is located on the west coast of Scotland in a rural village near cliffs. Three nine year-old pals begrudgingly befriend a sadly troubled boy who never smiles or laughs but has a talent for storytelling. Alan (John Wilson), Fraser (Dan Behrendt) and Paul (Layne Manzer) have fun acting out Giggles’s (Lane Flores replaces Kevin V. Smith) magical, often fable-like fairy tales. Much dark humor pours out from these stories. We witness the effects of isolation,  with possible child abuse and mental illness on theses children.

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Spanning two decades, Our Bad Magnet moves from childhood to the teen years as the four now search for sex, fame, and glory by forming a rock band as a way out from the doldrums of their village. Alan, Fraser, and Paul decide that Giggles must be removed from the band. Several mysterious events occur that shakes the crew. Flash foreword another ten years where Alan and Paul summon Fraser to the village in order to piece together the circumstances that led to the mystery of what happened to Giggles. Is he dead or missing? Why did he leave all his stories to these three guys?

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Douglas Maxwell cleverly weaves back and forth through the three timelines to present a darkly funny and poignantly moving drama. This suspenseful work is a fresh take on childhood bonding and its effects on shaping the adults we become. With understandable Scottish brogues, this cast deftly moved from little boys to teens to adults producing innocent charm, teen angst and adult trauma.”

As strong as the returning three are, Lane Flores steals his scenes as the troubled genius Giggles. This fascinating play is part fable-like storytelling, part coming-of-age drama, and part mystery. The ensemble acting was terrific. For a well done off-beat drama with ample humor, Our Bad Magnet delivers.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: March 27, 2015

For more info checkout the Our Bad Magnet page at theatreinchicago.com

At Angel Island,735 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL, Call 773-871-0442, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm
Running time is 1 hour, 40 minutes with intermission, Through April 26, 2015

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