Bedlam | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Bedlam 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Bedlam, at the Playground. In this late-night comedy, written and directed by Andy Eninger, small-time performance artist Danny Farragut springs his boundary-blurring works, which usually involve his bed, on unsuspecting visitors to a drapery museum. Free-associative scenes jump from present to future to ancient past, eventually revealing unlikely connections between Garp-ishly fatherless provocateur Danny and the seriously offbeat museum.

This work's structure is sound, its presentation congenial, its cast more than equal to Eninger's acrobatic demands--but the lightweight script achieves its mild insights and gentle chuckles with such languor the audience might well wish for a time machine of its own. The problem isn't one of treatment. As Danny, Jon Forsythe is energetic and engaging, a perfect oddball master of ceremonies. Steve Scholz offers strong work in several roles, especially a schoolmarmish drag turn, and the rest of the players--Mandy Price, Elizabeth McNaughton, Lindsay Saunders, Marianna Runge, Merrie Greenfield, and Peter Fitzsimmons--are all good. Some audience-participation bits go off just fine, and even the obligatory production number and reprise aren't so intolerable.

As a director, Eninger clearly has a handle on what he's doing. But about halfway through, his longish script's pleasant but aimless quality decays to a plodding lifelessness, rendering everyone's best efforts academic.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Brian Nemtusak

Popular Stories