Arlene Malinowski’s one-woman show is a risky and vulnerable dose of humanity. The second installment of an autobiographical trilogy about growing up as the hearing daughter of deaf parents, “Aiming for Sainthood” tackles material—disability, loss of religious faith, cancer—that in other hands could easily have fallen into truism. But Malinowski’s writing and performance, ably directed by Will Rogers, is utterly charming in the best sense of the word and ultimately succeeds in one of the most difficult of all theatrical aims: really, truly, getting us to care about un-hip family history and deep questions about faith and—I’ll say it—love. She pulls it off with unexpected dark humor, quirkiness and skillful transitions between fully embodying different characters; combining monologue with expressive blocking and sign language by both Malinowski and a translator makes the show as theatrical as a full-fledged ensemble production. (Monica Westin)
At Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 North Lincoln, (773)871-3000. Through September 26.