Summer Shorts | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Summer Shorts 

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Summer Shorts, Griffin Theatre Company. Summer is a wonderful time to roll out this pair of light, refreshing one-acts by Stephen Gregg. Weighing in at about 40 minutes apiece, they're well suited to a sitcom-level attention span but a tad more clever than anything the networks are dishing out these days. Poor Little Lambs, directed by Benjamin Summers, centers on a game played by five typically rivalrous siblings. Each kid gets a topic from one of Grandma's famous (endlessly repeated) stories and scores points for extracting new details. The stakes are high--the loser must cut off all of his or her hair--and the conduct gets downright unsportsmanlike. Be prepared: Grandma's not as sweet as she looks.

Something in the Air, directed by Jonathan Berry, presents a fantastical view of adolescent passions: here people in love are gifted with powers of flight, and couples actually fly each other like kites. A pretty ambitious visual considering the no-frills black-box stage, but sequined characters in black facilitate the illusion, as spritely lovers twirl through a swirly painted sky. The story is a bit airy (pun intended), but the characters' sincerity makes the experience palatable.

The ten ensemble members never miss a beat and are clearly in touch with their inner rug rats and teenagers. Melissa Reimer, as the only grown-up in both plays, displays the full range of behavior that causes kids to adore and disdain their elders. Not exactly the deep end of the swimming pool but awfully cute and fun.

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