Fela to Freud to Frontera: fresh Reader performing arts reviews | Bleader

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fela to Freud to Frontera: fresh Reader performing arts reviews

Posted By on 04.06.12 at 07:28 AM

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Tony Hernandez balances the tiny dancer in his hand in Cascabel
  • Sean Williams
  • Tony Hernandez balances the tiny dancer in his hand in Cascabel
The people have already reviewed Lookingglass Theatre Company's Cascabel with their wallets: the show—which combines romance, acrobatics, and a dinner by Frontera Grill's Rick Bayless—is completely sold out despite $200-$225 ticket prices. All I can say is, the people were right this time around. Among the great shows you can still get into are Fela! at the Oriental and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Auditorium.

Out of the ten other productions reviewed this week, only two rated outright recommendations from our critics. Kerry Reid likes Freud's Last Session, which offers a what-if colloquy between the iconic psychiatrist of the title and the man who imagined Narnia, C.S. Lewis. Jack Helbig, meanwhile, is properly creeped out by a stripped-down stage adaptation of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, presented by First Folio out in Oakbrook.

Justin Hayford says a "thrilling jag" on the language of American racism can't save L-vis Live!, the 60-minute one-man show by poet Kevin Coval. But Coval's piece may still beat out Rebecca Gilman's "idiotic" The Sweetest Swing in Baseball as staged by Step Up Productions. Zac Thompson was similarly unimpressed with New Millennium's We Are Wyld Stallyns, or How Bill and Ted Save the World ("about as fun as watching strangers play Rock Band 3") and Annoyance Theatre's Brunch Punkx, which is tedious despite a potentially funny premise involving a "cadre of culinary rebels who gain notoriety with their edgy, take-no-prisoners approach to brunch." Reviewing Babes With Blades's Trash, Dan Jakes acknowledges that "Arthur Jolly's sluggish, circular script is basically an excuse for some badass found-object fight choreography." It's just not a good enough excuse.

On a more positive plane, Elly Fishman singles out "dynamic and wickedly funny Cynthia Faye Carter" as the "heart and soul" of Tangled, a drama about gun violence now at ETA Creative Arts Foundation. Marissa Oberlander finds that Music Theatre Company's endearing moves help compensate for everything flat, dated, and hokey about the Stephen Schwartz musical Pippin. And Keith Griffith endorses the "infectious good nature" of the two-man cast of Drinking & Writing Theater's God vs. Hall & Oates, even though the show itself doesn't make a lot of sense.

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