The Kingdom | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Kingdom 

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Studio 108, at Body Politic Studio Theatre.

After the King announces that he's going to raise taxes, an anonymous citizen lobs a tomato at His Majesty, setting off a chain reaction of intrigue, paranoia, and violence that ends only when all but a handful of the population are dead, making it easy for the neighboring government to step in and take over.

In The Kingdom playwright Greg Nagan wants to say something about the relationship between war and politics, but his message is obscured by a slapstick narrative reminiscent of Mel Brooks ("There's only one revolting group around here, and we're it!" declares a partisan). The enthusiastic cast deliver their scattershot spoofs at twice the speed and several times the volume appropriate for the performance space, and their enunciation is further blurred by a habit of speaking away from the audience and toward the back wall--a practice sure to endear them to the actors playing in the theater on the other side. A few of the actors appear to have made some attempt to develop their characters, but the only ones who succeed are Kenneth Northcott as the savvy General Brume and Jordan Teplitz as the miserly innkeeper Murk.

Studio 108's motto is "laughter through misery," and theatergoers who may have missed the recent Moon Under Miami fiasco will find plenty of the same blue humor and schoolroom buffoonery in The Kingdom.

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