Aloha Dave Mowers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Aloha Dave Mowers 

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Dave Mowers's winning brand of performance hinges on his talent as a raconteur. Not that he hasn't got all sorts of acting chops. In the course of this lively, offbeat coming-of-age story, he hulas, does the cancan, and recites an epic poem's worth of well-constructed couplets; his classical training also figures into several misadventures along the way. But as in the hit Hot August Nights, performed here two years ago, his easy candor and zest for life are what really captivate. Revisiting college days spent in exile from his parents, who'd cut him off for writing bad checks, Mowers recounts a gloriously troubled young adulthood, sketching vivid portraits of his crazed body-surfing dad, spooky Manson-like roommate, and his own younger stoner self as he climbs from tough-love destitution to freewheeling self-sufficiency. Sharp-witted but affectionate barbs are judiciously chosen and perfectly placed, and the general intelligence of his narrative approach becomes dazzlingly apparent in the elegant coda, which flips Mowers's dangerously familiar cross-dressing motif into a formal conceit that pulls the whole show together. The Second City, Donny's Skybox Studio, Piper's Alley, 1608 N. Wells (fourth floor), 312-337-3992 or 877-778-4707. Saturday, March 13, 8 PM. $10.

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