Her Name Was Danger | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Her Name Was Danger 

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Her Name Was Danger, Lookingglass Theatre Company, at Steppenwolf Studio Theatre. If Mike Myers could turn James Bond and his brethren into Austin Powers, why shouldn't Lookingglass appropriate the 60s secret-agent sisterhood for its new "rock 'n roll action thriller"? Conceived and directed by David Catlin, Her Name Was Danger parodies Modesty Blaise and The Avengers as it recounts the globe-trotting exploits of adventuress Destiny Deign (Tracy Walsh, sleek and sexy a la Emma Peel) and her raffish cockney sidekick Malachy Chance: they must foil madcap megalomaniac Uriah Klench (the wonderfully over-the-top David Kersnar), who's bent on destroying the ozone layer to bring doomsday down upon scantily clad sunbathers.

Like the sometimes cheesy cold war relics it spoofs, Her Name Was Danger revels in exaggeration and artifice, veering between silly self-indulgence and inspired camp outrageousness. Padded with a raucous surfer-funk score by the Gaza Strippers' Rick Sims, it's some 20 minutes too long. But Lookingglass's playful circus-stunt athletics--which include harnessed actors "flying" with rocket packs or "swimming" with scuba gear--compensate for the show's weaknesses. Best of all is the comic teamwork of Andrew White and Lawrence E. DiStasi as a pair of ludicrous disguised policemen who pursue Destiny from Cairo to London to the south pole. Their delicious give-and-take, inspired by such British film and TV actors as Terry-Thomas, Lionel Jeffries, Eric Sykes, and the Goon Show/Monty Python crowd, transcends flip pop-culture allusion to become hilarious in its own right.

--Albert Williams

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