It’s one thing to fetishize the good old days, but this might be the most melancholy example yet. Inspired by an actual mom-and-pop gas station on the North Side that fell victim to market forces and changing neighborhood tastes, the themes that arise in Brett Neveu’s latest play might as well be outlined in the neon light that promises “Gas for Less.” Nobody likes change. Gentrification is a bitch. In today’s economy, the underdog is the dying dog. Dexter Bullard’s production at the Goodman has a sprawling, all-day-long quality to it, and anyone who has logged time behind a retail counter will recognize the sensation. (Tom Burch’s set is fantastic, a lived-in diorama stocked with old school mini-mart details.) But it’s like watching an ice cube melt; authentic and terribly boring. A photo can suggest an entire world within its borders; the three-dimensional reality of actors on a stage requires something more. Neveu captures the overall picture, but there’s not much life beneath the surface. (Nina Metz)
At Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, (312)443-3800. This production is now closed.