Signed, Sealed and Delivered | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Signed, Sealed and Delivered 

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Signed, Sealed and Delivered, at WNEP Theater, through January 31. For a trained magician, Matt Lash is awfully clumsy at removing his clothes. But that's the point in this parody of illusionist extravaganzas, quiz shows, stunt shows, kiddie TV, and multimedia performance art.

Another target is MTV-style sexuality. The resulting geeky spectacles include a spoken-word concert played on Barbie and Ken dolls and a rather ill-advised pseudoseance in which an audience volunteer is persuaded to undress beneath a quilt. These bits are interspersed with whimsical puppetry--in one case executed by a pair of silk handkerchiefs that take on astonishingly lifelike forms--and familiar legerdemain revolving around miniature guillotines and disappearing objects. The complicated finale involves ropes, locked boxes, pyrotechnic explosions, stuffed animals killed and resurrected, and Lash striking odalisque poses in various states of dishabille.

It's all profoundly silly, but Lash and his assistants sell their material with such cheerful conviction that we buy into the show's universe completely, even handing over valuables we're told will be destroyed in the course of the next trick. And while the patter could do with some tightening--the piece is only 60 minutes, but much of the setup is repetitive--our prestidigitator's charm and confidence cannot be faulted.

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