Angela's Asses: Solo for Female Harp | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Angela's Asses: Solo for Female Harp 

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Angela's Asses: Solo for Female Harp, at Live Bait Theater, through April 1. Other than the considerable pleasure of watching Judith Harding perform‚ there's no reason to see this slight memoir of her Irish heritage and trip to Ireland. The real story, submerged in the one she chooses to tell, is how she could have grown up being regularly beaten by her father without anyone's noticing, or intervening when they were informed. Perhaps the writer-performer, who several years ago did an autobiographical piece about mental illness, didn't feel like tackling another loaded subject. But we're left with a travelogue in Harding's many character voices, punctuated by her sweet-toned singing and graceful movements.

At only an hour, the piece seems better suited to late-night than prime-time performance: it's not really a full evening's entertainment. And despite its Saint Patrick's Day timing, it falls in between the good-time boisterousness of the cartoon Irish and the insightful observation of Irish literature, leaving it without a natural audience.

Harding should consider doing a solo production of Under Milk Wood--this enormously appealing and protean performer could do justice to all the parts.

--Kelly Kleiman

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