House of Lucky | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

House of Lucky 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

HOUSE OF LUCKY, at Bailiwick Repertory. It takes guts to bring a one-man show to Chicago without a major publicity campaign or a national reputation: intelligent, charismatic solo performers are a dime a dozen here. Fortunately, San Francisco's Frank Wortham has guts to spare. His unpredictable House of Lucky follows burned-out wannabe poet Harper Jones through a world of overzealous hippies, visionary junkies, sex-crazed rockers, and other self-serving radicals. Hoping to find a moral foothold within this quagmire of compromise, he nevertheless spurns every hand up that might pull him from the mud. Wortham's piece is full of ethical ambivalence; in 70 minutes he rarely offers an easy answer. Shifting gracefully between poetry and prose, unlocking a deep spiritual resonance in lives lived on society's margins, his voice is reminiscent of the young Sam Shepard.

Wortham's performance skills, however, lag behind his writing. People in this character-driven piece come in three varieties: stoned, frenetic, and both. And Wortham hasn't yet found a structure that will allow his ideas to evolve; after 45 minutes it's clear that House of Lucky, like its protagonist, needs some direction. But the fire in this performer is unmistakable. Once Wortham finds a way to focus his burning vision, he could set the theater world ablaze. --Justin Hayford

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Justin Hayford

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Not One Batu Berger Park Cultural Center
July 04
Performing Arts
Guards at the Taj Steppenwolf Theatre
June 13

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories