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There’s nothing quite as satisfyingly disturbing as watching rail-thin teens stuff their ravenous faces with fast food. Pale cheeks bulging with processed meat, chocolate smeared on the corners of the lips, grease dripping off a glistening chin…It’s so tasteless that it has to be a Cherry Red production. When the scrawniest girl in high school starves her way into the hospital, classmates Renee (Sica Nielsen) and Jeanine (Emerie Snyder) eagerly line up to take her place as queen of the scene. And once Monique (Judith Baicich) finally bites the big one, it’s survival of the thinnest as the scale-obsessed rivals launch a war of the diets to win the affections of the “hottest hottie” in school—The Bradley (Ryan Fearson). Schoolgirl Figure, Wendy MacLeod’s bilious black comedy about anorexia and bulimia, saw aging 20-somethings passing themselves off as the starved and spewing teens in its original Chicago staging; for the play’s East Coast premiere, Cherry Red Productions—purveyor of such piss-, blood-, and cum-drenched plays as Cannibal Cheerleaders on Crack and, most recently, Angel Shit—has opted to cast real-life high-schoolers in the four leading roles. The gamble pays off: The barely legal cast (who range from 15 to 19 years old) offer youthful exuberance as well as authenticity. Fearson’s perpetual sneer reeks of genuine locker-room arrogance, and Nielsen’s portrayal of a bitchy sociopath willing to lie, steal, and, ultimately, die in the climb to the top of the popularity ladder comes off almost too naturally for comfort. But it’s Rachyl Felty who stands out, as Patty, Renee’s Happy Meal-bingeing sidekick, switching effortlessly between head-bobbing perkiness, pouty discontent, and deer-in-the-headlights confusion. MacLeod’s biting dialogue flies at such a furious pace that when the occasional dud does land, it doesn’t lie around long enough for your brain to register it. And David Ghatan’s and Jason Milner’s minimalist set and light designs, consisting mainly of video images projected above the stage and a few pieces of furniture, work well within the Metro Cafe’s intimate confines. The weakest link is MacLeod’s stereotype-ridden script, which offers predigested social commentary and none of the depth that made her 1990 comedy The House of Yes (and its film adaptation) such a cult success. But Schoolgirl Figure ultimately succeeds on the strength of Cherry Red’s believable cast and toned-down production—which manages to be effective without the obligatory excess of bodily fluids. —Matthew Borlik