In Bruce Norris’ latest, Bee (Kate Arrington) confronts her blunt future self (Marylouise Burke) and explores her less-than-ideal soon-to-come. Her blowhard boyfriend (Tom Irwin) copes with Bee’s futuristic tales, even as we discover she may not be the most reliable witness.
Arrington appeals as she tries to make the most of a fate she can’t change; Burke’s no-nonsense riffing is pragmatic fun. The standout here is Irwin; he makes us feel for his self-centered sumbitch who thinks he has found love with a younger woman, only to watch her spin out.
Anna Shapiro’s driving direction keeps the timing sharp and the humor crisp. Todd Rosenthal’s airy, geometric set hints at future possibilities. It’s a bit annoying that Norris asks us to suspend disbelief and accept the sci-fi/fantasy format only to cavalierly derail it, but the trip is worth the detour. (Lisa Buscani)
Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 North Halsted, (312)335-1650, through August 29.