Abducting Diana | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Abducting Diana 

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Abducting Diana, TinFish Theatre. The heroine of Dario Fo's screwball satire was originally a banker, but Stephen Stenning's 1986 adaptation made her into a media mogul, a conglomerista who proves more cruel, conniving, and capitalistic than her bumbling kidnappers. Her mother's no wuss either.

No playwright can go wrong knocking the rich and powerful, and action-movie cliches are a likewise reliable target. But a story that involves Fo's trademark corrupt priests, the plucky prisoner improvising a weapon from a hair dryer, and crooks disguised in Halloween masks depicting Clinton, Bush, Newt, and Monica could easily have descended into juvenile chaos.

This TinFish show is saved from such a fate by director Kerstin Broockmann, who sets a brisk pace, and a tightly focused cast who never allow the energy to flag or the plot complications to skid out of control. Karen Foley and Maggie Speer are particularly fine as the ruthless mother-daughter duo, though Ed Dzialo deserves combat pay for his portrayal of a hapless hoodlum who's beaten, shackled, electrocuted, torched, slathered with Marshmallow Fluff, and locked into a refrigerator by his resourceful captive. Agile ensemble playing, enhanced by Lindsay Jones's giddy score and R & D Choreography's "violence design," keeps the farcical antics crisp and coherent right up to the play's astonishingly logical conclusion.

--Mary Shen Barnidge


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