Dave Mowers: Hot August Nights | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Dave Mowers: Hot August Nights 

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What doesn't happen in this one-man show, late of the New York Fringe Festival, is almost as remarkable as what does. Writer-performer Dave Mowers has a talent for understated character impressions, but his range never becomes the topic. He's unabashedly gay, which figures strongly in his reminiscences of adolescence, but sexuality issues never dominate. And despite a lot of undeniable navel gazing, his stories rarely get stalled in the particular: Mowers's self-involvement is more than matched by his self-awareness. Scrupulous avoidance of these classic pitfalls aside, Mowers is a gifted storyteller in the Spaulding Grey vein, and an even better wordsmith. His elegant, sculpted sentences evoke the milieu of 70s southern California with a literary efficiency, almost every phrase serving a discrete, painterly purpose. His warmth onstage is mirrored by clear affection for his characters and a profound identification with youthful desire. And under Christian Parker's admirably invisible direction, his relaxed, conversational rapport with the audience is unflagging--a small miracle in the famously distancing Skybox space. Check out Mowers's first Chicago appearance while you have the chance--who knows when he'll be back. The Second City, Donny's Skybox Studio, Piper's Alley, 1608 N. Wells (fourth floor), 312-337-3992 or 877-778-4707. Through February 23: Saturdays, 8 PM. $10.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Paedric O'Sullivan.

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