Tour de Farce | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Tour de Farce 

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Two's company and a crowd in Tour de Farce, Kingsley Day and Philip LaZebnik's comedy spoofing both the sensationalistic excesses of the media and the lengths to which actors and playwrights will go to get a laugh. A pair of performers, one woman and one man, essay five roles each in this door-slamming bedroom farce about a goody-two-shoes marriage-manual author, a philandering family-values politician, and the women in their lives. The best jokes stem from the link between the characters' onstage exertions and the actors' offstage ones--super-quick costume changes, ventriloquism, frantic dashes out a stage-left door and back in from beneath a stage-right bed, and so forth. Hollis Resnik uses dynamic presence and technique to sketch Lucille Ball-like caricatures of a marriage-weary wife, a scandalmongering TV reporter, a slippery-fingered chambermaid, an accordion-playing nun, and a publicity-hungry party girl; and Steve Carell displays delicious nuance in his quick-footed portrayals of an anxious writer, a loudmouth bellboy, a noxious Newt Gingrich-type pol and his wife, and a morbidly megalomaniacal Swedish cinematographer who apprenticed with Bergman but is now reduced to shooting hidden-camera TV-news exposes. Special credit goes to Jacqueline and Richard Penrod for designing the tricky, tacky hotel-room set. Apollo Theater Center, 2540 N. Lincoln, 935-6100. Open run: Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 PM; Saturdays, 5:30 and 9 PM; Sundays, 3 and 7 PM. $27.50-$32.50.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Roger Lewin--Jennifer Girard Studio.

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