Electronic Baby | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Electronic Baby 

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Some statements are so well encoded you never guess they're there. On the other end of the spectrum are plays like Electronic Baby, so skewed toward an offbeat concept that you can't believe they're not metaphoric. This rock opera by John Austin (music) and Kathleen Lombardo (book) focuses on a 13-year-old who prefers cars to boys. Her parents' weird dismay at her lack of sexualization seems allegorical by default, while their efforts to straighten her out (with a makeover and visits to a shrink) and pry her away from a gearhead aunt scream homosexual panic. But no: maddeningly, what you see is exactly what you get. However, big, bright performances and some vibrant ensemble numbers make this a pleasant if perplexing experience. Through 7/30: Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron, 773-253-4792, $18-$22, industry show Thu 6/22 and 6/29.

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