Found in a Box, Supposedly Empty... | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Found in a Box, Supposedly Empty... 

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FOUND IN A BOX, SUPPOSEDLY EMPTY..., at the Theatre Building. "You're out of control! You're all over the place!" declares a doctor with a predictable German accent in one of the sketches that make up this show. His observation is accurate when it comes to most of Found in a Box, Supposedly Empty.... Some of the routines performed by writer-directors Trini Presswood and Crafty James have some potential: a mimed fast-draw contest, a rap song about working in a sandwich shop, and several dazzling exchanges of "who's on first?"-style repartee. On the other hand there are Patrick Stewart voices, Minnie Mouse voices, Butterfly McQueen voices, sassing-the-customer gags, Odd Couple gags, and an overabundance of homosexual gags--mostly the two partners assuring us, and each other, that they are not.

What most cripples Presswood and James's show, however, is not the uneven material but the lack of a context to give it shape. Despite a rudimentary framing device--something about passing time in purgatory's waiting room--the program is little more than a collection of comic bits, frequently delivered so softly and swiftly as to be unintelligible. The hyperactive James and the laid-back Presswood appear to be having a jolly time, but without an outside eye to sharpen transitions and reinforce focus, the duo's performances remain insular: we don't share in the fraternal glee.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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