The Last Big Mistake Review - High Stakes Meets High Heels

 

(L to R) Kim Boler and Angela DeMarco in The Last Big Mistake at the Factory Theater

 

The Factory Theater opens the doors of a new space in Rogers Park with the world premiere of The Last Big Mistake by ensemble member Ernie Deak. This high-stakes tale of action, adventure, and platform shoes is an entertaining night of theatre, if not a work of high art.

 

(L to R) Angela DeMarco, Eric Loughlin, Kim Boler, and Eric Roach in The Last Big Mistake at the Factory Theater

 

The play follows two former wrestlers, Roxy Aguilar and Lola Knight, who find themselves in over their heads after they attempt to shake down first a pawn store owner and then a mobster for the money they are owed for delivering a small and mysterious package. They soon find themselves on the run for their lives as both the mob and the sinister owner of the package pursue them with malicious intent.

 

(L to R) Eric Loughlin, Eric Roach, and Angela DeMarco in The Last Big Mistake at the Factory Theater

 

Set in 1975 and complete with colorful jumpsuits and period radio music, The Last Big Mistake has the vibe of a gangster movie with a dash of women’s lib. The central characters are both tough and vulnerable in turn, and the friendship between the two women is the most compelling element of the story. It is easy to root for these two rough-and-tumble wrestlers to succeed in the face of adversity. The story is entertaining, with high stakes and power struggles at every turn. Lots of fights keep the action rolling, and Anthony Tournis’ choreography holds up well in the intimate space, where there is little margin for error and everything must reach a high level of realism.

 

Background: Kim Boler, Christy Arington. Foreground: Angela DeMarco, Maureen Yasko

 

Kim Boler and Angela DeMarco are stellar as Lola and Roxy, respectively, bringing human hearts to characters whose surroundings are often gritty and unforgiving. Timothy C. Amos brings just the right level of chilling eccentricity to antagonist Cecil Seinkeiwicz, and Blaze Dalzin somehow manages to bring humor to his kidnapping rapist character. The entire ensemble is skilled, and the acting is perhaps the strongest element of the production (although original music by Jason Moody is another close contender). It’s also enjoyable to see so many women as central players in an action-packed story like this one, where women are often confined to the roles of seductress or damsel in distress.

 

(L to R) Kim Boler, Kevin Alves, and Angela DeMarco in The Last Big Mistake at the Factory Theater

 

Unfortunately, the story itself is weak in places. Design choices create ambiguousness about whether or not anything supernatural is at play, and despite Seinkeiwicz’s  proclamation that he knows all there is to know about the box’s origins, contents, and significance, he never shares this information with the audience, leaving this critic feeling as though Chekov’s proverbial rifle had been left unfired. The story also lacked any sort of deeper meaning beyond the surface story, making it entertaining but not necessarily thought-provoking.

 

(L to R) Maureen Yasko, Christy Arington, and Angela DeMarco in The Last Big Mistake at the Factory Theater. All photos by Michael Courier

 

Overall, The Last Big Mistake is a fun night out, although not a totally satisfying one. The Factory Theater’s new space has been well-christened with this production, and many exciting new shows will undoubtedly hit its stage in the future.

 

Ticket Information

Dates: March 25, 2016 - April 30, 2016

Times: Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm

Location: 1623 W Howard St

Tickets: $10-$25, available at The Factory Theater website and by calling 866-811-4111

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