"Sexual Perversity in Chicago," now at Garvin's Laugh Inn, lives up to its name, and to spare.
The opening scene of David Mamet's short "play" -- a series of vignettes framed by blackouts -- has Bernie Litko in a singles bar, telling tales of the night before. It seems that the "broad" liked to have towels snapped at her, a G.E. clock-radio hurled at her, and donned a flak jacket for the main event.
Before Bernie could run screaming into the night, she had him shout "Boom!" repeatedly, enlisted a third party to make strafing noises while she chanted "RED DOG ONE TO RED DOG SQUADRON," and at the crucial moment doused her room with gasoline to ignite with a Zippo lighter. "Those firemen," Bernie concludes, "make out like bandits!"
The bare-bones production at Garvin's -- four actors with chairs for props -- meshes well with Mamet's vision of a sexual wasteland, while the proceedings are such as to make your mother blush. Whether you'd find it funny depends on your appetite for raging manic-depression: Woody Allen, perhaps, with an ax.
The cast -- Kevin Murray's Bernie, mentor to Robert Fass' callow Danny, with Lorraine Pollack's Joan and Dori Salois' Deborah supplying some female counterpoint -- has caught Mamet's tone precisely. It is a worn-out spirit, occasionally revived by a few bitter laughs.