Heart of a Dog | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Heart of a Dog 

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The shtick of the New Crime troupe--roiling emotions broadcast by a primary palette of pained expressions, virtuoso choreography married to Jef Bek's crashy, bashy percussion and cartoony keyboards, an oxygen-sucking pace--has never been so overwhelmingly packed together as in its current offering, Heart of a Dog. The show's been playing for a while, but it closes soon; the story, written by Soviet dissident Mikhail Bulgakov in the 1920s, is that of an enterprisingly demented professor whose latest crackpot scheme is to put a man's pituitary gland into a dog's body. This critique of Soviet utopianism--which sounds more heavy-handed than it is--is leavened by a cheerfully misanthropic subtext (it's the dog who's corrupted, not the human) and blithe handling by ace adapter Frank Galati. The company further finesses the issue by bulldozing its way through the production; both they and the audience end up getting off on the raucous theatrical possibilities of the story, most notably David Sinaiko's awesome habitation of the dog-and-man dual role. At the Famous Door Theatre Company, Jane Addams Center Hull House, 3212 N. Broadway, 404-8283. Through June 3: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 7 PM; Wednesday, June 1, 8 PM. $12.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Dexter Bullard.

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