Sixteen years after its premiere, Live Bait is reviving Sharon Evans’s play “Portrait of a Shiksa.” It has not aged well. It’s entirely possible, I suppose, that in those halcyon days when a Bush in the White House was a novelty, comic devices like an overbearing fundamentalist Christian mother or a slightly less overbearing gay agent might have retained a breath of freshness. But this sketch-comedy fodder comes to seem hopelessly thin when drawn out over the course of two hours. Angela Bullard and Erin Myers play the dueling Mama and Adelle at the higher reaches of shrill, a pitch only amplified by the harsh acoustics of Kurt Sharp’s set, all polished wood surface. Scott Aiello and Edward Thomas-Herrera inhabit their slight characters likably enough, but they have precious little to work with. Throughout, the meteoric shifts in Adelle’s circumstances, from skeptic to devout Christian to calendar model to television star, come off as utterly unconvincing—which might be excusable if they led to uproarious results. But the play doesn’t entirely commit either to realism or to wholesale farce, leaving the audience only with an impression of muddle and a ringing in the ears. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.