Anyone who has ever opened a door to religious solicitors that need to have their own faith confirmed by others’ acceptance of it will find this world premiere play by Evan Smith salve for the soul. Unlike other currently running shows in which religion is used merely as set-dressing (“Busy World is Hushed, ” “Passion Play”), the religious dialogue here and the issues underlying it are the real deal in that this is not merely a playwright’s abstract vision of such encounters, but rather, the genuine kind of isolated and devisive monologues that pop up at real family reunions that include Protestant fundamentalists and Roman Catholics (been there, done that). But Catholics are so rare in the South that the idea of fundamentalist missionaries setting out to “convert” them to “Christianity” door-to-door seems a bit far-fetched, but the play works if you can buy that caveat. It also would have been great if the two elderly Catholic sisters and their parish priest who take on the Tammy Faye wannabe solicitor had an equal match on the other side: the solicitor speaks to her pastor via her cell phone that plays the “Mission: Impossible” theme, but never calls for direct troop backups to make this a more even battle royale. After all, she’s passing out pamphlets to a guy who has written books his entire career and is drinking Scotch to boot. It reminds me of my Protestant father’s excuse as to why he never converted to my mother’s Catholicism, namely, that he couldn’t keep up with all of the drinking. (Dennis Polkow)
At the Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, (847)242-6000. This production is now closed.