Hello, Dali: From the Sublime to the Surreal | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Hello, Dali: From the Sublime to the Surreal 

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Jamie O'Reilly and Michael Smith's cabaret piece is not the deepest show about art I've ever seen--that honor goes to Tom Stoppard's Artist Descending a Staircase. But it may be the most playful. Especially when Smith and O'Reilly wax mischievous and provide alternative lyrics to the old pop song "Mona Lisa": here the artist's subject, played by the luminous O'Reilly, tells us what a pain it is to pose for a man like Leonardo. Or when Smith stretches his composer's wings and sings some of his own witty tunes. In between these comic interludes the two sing folk versions of both familiar and lesser-known songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Leonard Cohen--all concerned in one way or another with art. A slide show of primarily 19th- and 20th-century paintings accompanies the songs, giving O'Reilly and Smith an excuse to call their show a multimedia event. But to be honest, these two are so strong in and of themselves that Hello Dali would be just as sweet without the slides. For this Theater on the Lake production, O'Reilly and Smith are joined by Jamie's brother Beau O'Reilly and his sometime collaborator Jenny Magnus, both Curious Theatre Branch members who are no strangers to meditations on the nature of art. Theater on the Lake, Fullerton and Lake Shore, 312-742-7994. Opens Wednesday, July 14, 8 PM. Through July 18: Thursday-Friday, 8 PM; Saturday, 4 and 8 PM; Sunday, 4 PM. $10. --Jack Helbig

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