Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding 

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When avant-garde director and theorist Richard Schechner some 20 years ago called for "all the spaces in a theater [to be] actively involved in all aspects of the performance," I don't think he had in mind Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding. Yet this freewheeling, audience-interactive re-creation of a contemporary Italian wedding is living proof of the marvelously spontaneous theater that can be made when the audience is included. True, the premise here is kind of silly. For three hours you are part of the wedding party--you attend the service and the reception, eat authentic cheap Italian food, even dance (for a dollar) with the bride and groom. Woven into the evening are all the usual Catholic-wedding jokes--the pregnant maid of honor, the alcoholic priest, the widower father dating a much younger woman. But they're presented with such finesse and subtlety that even the most well-worn are funny. And the cast goes easy on the Italian stereotypes, creating fully realized characters instead of a roomful of Vinnie Barbarino and Chico Marx imitators. This surprisingly lifelike and remarkably funny re-creation reminds one less of those awfully acted shows at the ill-fated Set dinner theater than of the entertaining chaos of Robert Altman's best films. Piper's Alley, 230 W. North, 664-8844. Open run: Tuesdays-Fridays, 7:30 PM; Saturdays, 5 and 9 PM; Sundays, 5 PM; additional matinee the first Wednesday of each month, noon. $45-$60.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Russell McGonagle.

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