Japanese Harold | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Japanese Harold 

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If there's such a thing as art-house improv, this is it. With their quasi-mystical "Japanese" aesthetic, minimalist pacing and blocking, and character-driven humor, the expert Promise Keepers mold the paradigmatic Harold to their sophisticated sensibilities. Adroitly accessing standard techniques when needed, the four improvisers introduce exciting moments, like a fistfight, but succinctly downplay them for dry comic effect. Conversely, ordinary events, such as a family sitting around talking, assume amusing dramatic potential. Lines spoken in character--"What's that supposed to mean?" "Well, that was weird," and "Why are you taking your pants off?"--apply equally to the show itself. What easily could've been boring and self-indulgent is kinky, justifiably methodical, and seductively offbeat. --Ryan Hubbard a Open run: Wed 10 PM, I.O., 3541 N. Clark, 773-880-0199, $5.

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