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Radio show host goads listeners

By Joanne G. Rochman , Arts & Leisure


TheatreWorks, New Milford: Barry Champlain is a shock-jock. In other words, he’s a late night radio talk show host that likes to incite and insult his listeners. His language is harsh and his attitude condescending.

When a caller asks him what to do about a girl who has been partying for two days and now won’t wake up and is turning blue, the radio hosts starts singing a song about being blue. When he gets a call from a teenage girl who’s crying because she’s pregnant, he tells her that since she likes the feel of sex and likes the feel of being in love, she better like the feel of being pregnant. He ignores a bomb threat, thinks he knows everything about everything, and does know his audience well, perhaps too well. But then that’s his job in Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio at TheatreWorks in New Milford.

Barry’s producer also knows about jobs. He created Barry Champlain. The thing is that while Barry advises people to “get a life,” he doesn’t have one. Bob Lussier takes on the lead role as if it were made for him.

Marilyn Hart as Linda, Barry’s on-air assistant and off-air lover, fills in the blanks about the protagonist’s sex life. Convincing and at the top of his form, Tom Libonate as the producer, looks every bit the role as he tolerates the antics of Barry Champlain. Maxwell Anderson, Beth Bonnabeau, Alex Echevarria, and Jacky Saulnier complete the cast of characters and callers.

Directed with razor sharp edginess and to-the-minute timing by Susan Abrams, this usually produced one act, moves along at a fast pace even though this production includes an intermission.

Glenn R. Couture’s set design is exquisite and reproduces to the last detail every facet of “WTLK” — Live Talk Radio. This is a clever play that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and which is now excellently portrayed by a superb cast and crew.

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