Cold Comfort

In Arch Brown's Freeze!, being an idiot is an equal-opportunity occupation (30th Street Theater). When four people--a gay father, his adopted son, a paranoid militiaman, and his virginal daughter--are held hostage in an icebound bungalow, they're forced to cooperate to thwart a murderous thug. Fag bashing, exhibitionism, and pedophilia result. Brown's "serious farce" mixes terror and family comedy, but to no clear purpose. One wishes the performers would give us a wink to show they know how cornball their lines are, but the humor of scenes that could make marvelously ironic camp remains on a level with Married With Children. The butch police officer Dykstra (Nora Hummel) does add a breath of fresh air to the cooped-up cabin. And though one is never quite sure whether to laugh at them or not, Kevin Tiernan's emotional outbursts in defense of his son (and their sexual union) are deeply felt. A bloodless final showdown leaves everyone in prison, melting the initial excitement of Freeze! to a soggy anticlimax.

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