The Fever | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Fever 

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The fever, Dolphinback Theatre Company, Rhino in Winter festival, at Lunar Cabaret. When Wallace Shawn first performed The Fever several years ago in New York, Robert Brustein sighed in his New Republic review that cute, little, neurotic Shawn had become a "fanatic." Brustein's diagnosis was correct--The Fever is angry, fanatical, even at times radical--but that's its great strength. Shawn's surprisingly sharp critique of privilege and class is a searing monologue that recounts with greater and greater urgency one man's horror at discovering that everything he's thought about the world is a lie.

Brad Light, who's always seemed capable of learning lines but unable to explore the depths of a work, would not have been my first choice to perform The Fever. But he dives deep, performing Shawn's monologue with such intensity that it's impossible to take your eyes off him. I've seen other productions, most notably David Shapiro's fine version of several years ago, capture the ideas in Shawn's work. But Light captures the anguish, disgust, guilt, and sputtering rage behind Shawn's words. And the effect is riveting.

--Jack Helbig


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