The Van Gogh Cafe | Community Tavern | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Dominick Maino

When: Mondays, Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Oct. 3 2016
Price: $45, $30 children and students
filamnettheatre.org
In hindsight, children’s lunch theater seems like such a natural, visceral way for young audiences to be introduced to live art that it’s surprising more companies haven’t tackled it. Filament Theatre and its Portage Park neighbor Community Tavern set a high bar with this five-course "culinary immersion experience" delivered together with a 90-minute adaptation of Cynthia Rylant’s book about miracles cropping up in a midwestern diner. Between cartoonish vignettes, the actors in director Julie Ritchey's ensemble serve a scrumptious, mostly vegetarian-friendly (the exception is a warm crab dip) five-course prix fixe meal by chef Joey Beato. The stop-and-start dinner-theater action limits the storytelling, but the choreography of the service is low-key brilliant, as are the kid-appropriate but challenging new flavors, which progress from a delicious smoked-vegetable club to a surefire second course of lemon meringue pie to a fifth-course salad of kale and shaved vegetables with pistachios, pecarino, and fried-garlic vinaigrette. Magical! —Dan Jakes

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