Too Many Time Machines | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Too Many Time Machines 

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Too Many Time Machines, Runamuck Productions, at TinFish Theatre. In his nationally syndicated strip Washingtoon, cartoonist Mark Alan Stamaty targets not only the three-ring circus of national politics but the media. And as a writer and illustrator of children's books his approach is much the same; he doesn't narrow the range of his views for a younger audience.

In Too Many Time Machines Stamaty posits a not-so-distant future in which time travel has overtaken television as the drug of choice for America's youth. Yet the book is no antitechnology diatribe. Whether Stamaty's young characters are aiding Napoleon in his latest conquest or instructing Betsy Ross on the ins and outs of fashion, they use their time machines as much for education as for adventure. Their attention spans are what need work, as sandlot-baseball team captain Roger Allen learns all too well when he tries to organize his teammates for a routine practice and must travel back through time to solicit the aid of Babe Ruth and Albert Einstein.

Heath Corson and Kathleen Collins's intelligent adaptation for Runamuck Productions is children's theater for kids and adults alike. Collins's fast-paced staging, the cast's enthusiastic performances, and Lindsay Jones's sound design (comprised mainly of They Might Be Giants songs) make the production kid friendly. And the script--peppered with references to eBay, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and those hilariously awful Eagle car insurance ads--rewards the adult members of the audience just as often.

--Nick Green

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