Drinking With Harry on Rush | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Drinking With Harry on Rush 

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Drinking With Harry on Rush, Aardvark Theatre Company, at the Cubby Bear Lounge. It's 1989, the year Harry Carey was finally elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, and disaffected Wrigleyville barkeep Rush is grappling with a ne'er-do-well brother, eviction from an apartment gone condo, and the transformation of his hole-in-the-wall into a sports bar. Into all this strides the legendary broadcaster, waiting on the pivotal yea or nay from Cooperstown.

The loose conversational montage that makes up Vincent Bruckert's new comedy skips from Carey to Rush and his brother--Keith, or "Blaze" to the ladies--to a suspiciously bossy new waitress. Though occasionally this approach to action threatens the momentum, in the hands of director Lila M. Stromer it's remarkably well suited to elucidating the play's loopy dualism: old economy vs. new economy; the sharp, acerbic Carey vs. his devolved cuddly Cubbie self; Old Style vs. the Bud Man's Saint Louis brew. A running joke considers whether the gentrifying neighborhood should be called Lakeview or Near or North Lincoln Park; Keith discovers a crook shares his nickname, then impersonates an armed robber himself.

There's a sly beauty to all the doublings; fortunately Drinking is also gently funny. The stellar cast is led by Larry Neumann Jr. as Keith, Steven M. Schine as Rush, and Gary Brichetto as a suave, stylized Carey. The ending is as syrupy as it is tidy; but as an idiot sentimentality informs all things Cub, it rolls off your back as surely as any other late-inning collapse.


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