The Invisible Hand | Steep Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Owais Ahmed and Joel Reitsma

Owais Ahmed and Joel Reitsma

Lee Miller

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 11 2017
Price: $10-$38
Voraciously capitalistic U.S. banker Nick, kidnapped by America-hating Pakistani insurgents, strikes a bargain with his seemingly righteous captors: give him a year and access to his online trading account, and he’ll raise his $10 million ransom. Soon his putative enemy, idealistic revolutionary Bashir, is drunk on short sells. It's an ingenious conceit that allows for resonant collisions—ideological, economic, and spiritual—among desperate characters and the cultures they represent. As animated graduate seminars go, Pulitzer winner Ayad Akhtar’s 2012 play is excellent. But Akhtar's intellectual acumen often exceeds his dramatic abilities, as underdeveloped characters, predictable plotting, and ponderous dialogue abound. Director Audrey Francis's superlative cast, led by Joel Reitsma as the pathetic, contemptible Nick, make the two-hour affair consistently fascinating but only intermittently compelling. —Justin Hayford
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