Ivywild: The True Tall Tales of Bathhouse John | Chopin Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Ivywild: The True Tall Tales of Bathhouse John 

When: Mondays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through June 16 2013
Price: $28
"Bathhouse John" Coughlin and Michael "Hinky Dink" Kenna, turn-of-the-20th-century coaldermen of Chicago's vice-heavy 1st Ward, made fortunes squeezing payoffs from gamblers and pimps. Coughlin dressed extravagantly, fancied himself a poet, wrote one hit song, and built an amusement park that burned to the ground six years after it opened. Kenna dressed conservatively. That's about all playwright and performer Jay Torrence's 90-minute script has to say about its central figures—and does it so disjointedly that it's difficult to glean even these basic facts. Director Halena Kays's shadowy, carnivalesque Hypocrites production features winning design and engaging performances (Torrence's impish Coughlin is a marvel). But there's no meaningful context to give the onslaught of fragmentary images any significance. —Justin Hayford

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