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.