Keep Ishmael | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Keep Ishmael 

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Mat Smart and Ethan Deppe's muddled new musical is part spoof and part serious update of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, but the two don't make a satisfying whole. It does include a fishing trip, undertaken by four young Naperville residents: Ishmael (or "Izzy"), his ex-girlfriend Q, their gay pal Starbuck (a Starbucks manager), and A-Train, who's obsessed with killing . . . Shamu, the Sea World orca. It's never clear why the crew members don't simply overpower their crazed captain; banal romantic subplots further impede credibility, and the comedy isn't consistent or clever. Still, the White Horse Theatre Company's production is inventively staged and designed, the cast is talented (especially Jack Black look-alike Jonathan Wagner as A-Train), and Deppe's rock-based score is unusually sophisticated. Through 9/16: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, 773-327-5252, $20.

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