Chicago Theater Review: WRECKS (Profiles Theatre)

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by Lawrence Bommer on October 7, 2013

in Theater-Chicago


Much has been said about Neil LaBute’s work at Profiles, but there’s so much that can’t be given away about Wrecks (2005), a 70-minute solo show by the ever-controversial LaBute, now enjoying his 11th production at this theater, that this review will be sparingly short.

The setting is a Chicago funeral parlor where the ashes of “JoJo” Carr (1941-2013) are displayed in a green urn placed center stage. Furiously circling the ashes, unashamedly chain-smoking and bursting out in defensive defiance is her unhappy John Judd in Neil LaBute's WRECKS at Profiles Theatre.widower, Edward Carr (John Judd). A day from now, this orphan, prosperous businessman, paterfamilias, and community leader will deliver a eulogy for his cancer-killed 72-year-old wife. But now he’s confessing much more freely. Who we, his hearers, are meant to be, aside from his conscience, is left in dynamic doubt.

Suffice it to say that Carr is torn about more than the loss of a wife of over 30 years (who was, significantly, 15 years older than he). After he seduced JoJo, a rape victim, away from her first husband (he says it was “love at first sight”), they ran a vintage-car rental service. The proffered details are spare: He almost lost her in a car crash, then had to attend to her remorse over a wasted life. He rages over imagined accusations that she never did anything with her life, other than become his wife.

John Judd in Neil LaBute's WRECKS at Profiles Theatre.But he’s kept a secret from her (until her dying minute) that he can’t from us, a revelation so ugly it must end the play.

Director Jason Gerace paces this outcry as kinetically as LaBute detonates it. Unlike his character, who seethes with his secret and bullies the audience as he must have done to everyone in his too-long life, the wonderful Mr. Judd can do no wrong. Nevertheless, it’s energy, not eloquence, which matters here. For some that won’t be reward enough. This tour de trauma easily falls into the TMI category with a vengeance.

photos by Michael Brosilow
poster design by Chris Carr

Profiles Theatre
scheduled to end on Nov. 17, 2013
for tickets call 773-549-1815 or visit

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