The Seductive Countess and the Jealous Husband | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Seductive Countess and the Jealous Husband 

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THE SEDUCTIVE COUNTESS and THE JEALOUS HUSBAND, Bald Soprano Theatre Company, at the O Bar & Cafe. The Bald Soprano Theatre Company has announced its intent to do Ionesco, Frisch, and Pirandello, so Moliere might seem an odd choice for its debut production. But its interpretation of these two commedia dell'arte-style sketches bears little resemblance to classical French comedy.

Under the direction of Dan Torbica, funny bits are piled on at the expense of coherence--there should be a prize after every show for any audience member who can explain the plot of The Seductive Countess. Gags arise from no discernible base, while opportunities for motivated comic invention pass in a flurry of empty words. Dialogue is delivered at breakneck speed, obliterating all content, while accents change as often as three times in a single speech. And what is the point of having a character from one play intrude upon the action of the other, ostensibly to retrieve a prop carelessly left on the set?

All this gives the plays the look of something thrown together in a dormitory for parents' day. Only Jim Donovan, playing the title character of The Jealous Husband, paces his lines to comic advantage and manages to salvage a veneer of personality from the chaos.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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