A chauvinistic, egocentric writer spends a long night in an ever-changing power game of seduction with a sexy young female student at the university where he has been a visiting professor. There’s nothing new to the story, which covers everything from the writer’s insecurities to National Book Awards to the mixed blessing of movie adaptations, and lest you forget that Eric Bogosian’s play is about writers, the characters constantly speak about their work and shout at one another about authenticity and solipsism. At best, it’s a startling intimate production, complete with on-stage hand jobs and lap dances, but there’s not quite enough innovation or control to avoid cringing at cliché after cliché of romance and the battle of the sexes. What saves the show is humor, which comes fast and hard as a well-timed and welcome relief, but when not directly poking fun at themselves, the characters come across as self-involved twerps, and it’s hard to care at the end of their histrionic night what happens to them. (Monica Westin)
At The Side Project Theater, 1439 W. Jarvis, through November 9.