Exhibit on sea creatures that survive without blood, bones, or brains.
There's just something about cussing puppets--and this improvised puppet show by the Atticus Finch ensemble suggests bitter, rejected prototypes of Elmo, Chewbacca, McGruff the Crime Dog, and Crank Yankers/Muppets characters ganging up in a dark alley off Sesame Street. But the troupe's nine members exceed the old, easy laugh of vulgar-talking innocents: after tutorials from professional puppeteers and a few months of practice, they display sophisticated physical control as they wield the puppets from behind the curtains of a bilevel ministage. Seamlessly creating gestures and quick takes (hilariously deadpan on the perfectly blank cartoonish faces), they also smoothly execute difficult maneuvers like sliding a quarter across a bar or crossing the stage via motorized scooter. Sharp timing and self-mockery point to the performers' long experience together, though the motley mob of puppets takes center stage: Felt is improv cut from new cloth. --Ryan Hubbard $5
Bruised Orange Theater Company's I Saw You is a charming theatrical interpretation of "I Saw You," "Matches," and "X-Matches" listings from the Reader. Performed in bars, each show features a rotating cast of three actors presenting ads published in the past year, the yearnings of their anonymous characters echoing the banter, flirting, and stares of the patrons. The material is naturally funny--"I backed up your toilet something fierce," "Do you like to churn butter?"--but the actors avoid the trap of easy "sexy" voices and imaginatively embellish the text with a wide range of accents and consistently surprising attitudes (shy to monstrous, robotic monotone to smarmy). —Ryan Hubbard $5
P.T. Murphy and David Parr's show continues to "take the 'ic' out of magic." Classic bits involving card tricks and swallowed needles blend with anecdotes about Chicago's history as a magic capital and Murphy and Parr's own youthful obsessions with the craft. The two deliver a bombast-free evening of chamber illusions, bantering easily with each other and the audience in a spare and intimate setting. A chilling interlude invoking H.H. Holmes, the serial killer immortalized as the "devil in the White City," reminds us that no amount of prestidigitation can reveal the motivations of monsters. --Kerry Reid $20, no one under 13 years old admitted
Re-creating a legendary 1956 jam session involving Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis, this crowd-pleaser is basically a vehicle for crackling renditions of classic tunes, including "Blue Suede Shoes," "That's All Right," and "Great Balls of Fire." The show's emotional center is Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, a man caught between competing personal and business pressures. —Albert Williams $25-$70
Second City E.T.C.'s 35th revue, Sky's the Limit (Weather Permitting), is directed by Matt Hovde. $22-$27
$5 ($10 at the door)
A happy hour for dog owners with dog-related boutiques, vendors, shelters, and other businesses.
An stand-up comedy/open mike hybrid, with veterans and amateurs performing.
Five-minute performances by stand-up and sketch comics. $5