Fish (Dan Toot) is a rage-a-holic boxer, taught to “punch till ya can’t punch no more, then keep punching.” But he finds calm with Cherry (Emily Shain), a runaway who lives “around.” Both are survivors of unthinkable abuse rooted in crushing poverty.
James McManus’ script combines the poetry of the everyday with the hardscrabble life of a working class without work. He hits a couple of clinkers when the language overwhelms the scenario, but still manages to create a gorgeous, imaginative world.
Toot captures Fish’s anger and aggression; he is bark and bite. Shain’s Cherry longs for magic and creates it with her love. Peter Oyloe brings a gentle dignity to Duffy, Fish’s brother, who has mastered the serenity needed to survive, drawing strength from his wife Bug (Jessica London-Shields) a midwife who longs to create life herself. It’s a strong ensemble that creates rich, fully formed performances. (Lisa Buscani)
The Side Project Theatre Company, 1439 West Jarvis, (773)973-2150. Through December 19.