Hell in a Handbag’s “The Birds” is a quick, clever, psychoanalytical look at the making of the Hitchcock classic. The ensemble understands the first rule of camp: good camp never knows it’s campy. The nudging and winking is kept to a minimum as the cast shifts from movie scenes to the film’s even scarier back story: Hitchcock’s domination of Tippi Hedren both onscreen and off; Suzanne Pleshette’s resentment of Hedren (Pleshette was the movie’s original lead; Hitchcock recast the role to accommodate Hedren). An anachronistic Camille Paglia provides on-set analysis as Hedren’s “acting coach.” Tracy Repep captures Hedren’s blonde iciness, required of all Hitchcock’s leading women. David Cerda’s permanently pickled Pleshette provides all the sarcasm of a woman replaced. The musical numbers are dispensable, but the interior and exterior use of park district coach house is witty and innovative. The show is a dark treat for the Halloween season. (Lisa Buscani)
At the Berger Park Coach House, 6205 N. Sheridan, (773)761-0376. This production is now closed.