Part drum concert, part rock musical, part large-cast performance piece, Avalanch Ranch defies easy categorization. What would you call a show that combines Bryn Magnus’s trademark mythopoetic story telling and Shu Shubat’s choreographed Busby-Berkeley-ish drumming routines with an evening’s worth of music by the lcoal rock band Family Problem? Magnus and Shubat call the show a drum opera, which it is in the sense that it tells a story in music–about the doomed love between Gad, whose family rustles cattle for a lviing, and Lila, who would like Gad to lead a more respectable life. But the term “opera” fails to do justice to either Family Problem’s kickass rock and roll (which sounds great even when they’re warming up) or Magnus’s sometimes beautiful, sometimes terrifying Jungian fairy tale. Those familiar with the genre-defying work of Curious Theatre Branch (where most of Magnus’s previous work has premiered) and Maestro Subgum and the Whole will have the best idea of what to expect from this story involving aliens, cattle mutilations, a Medusa like woman who makes men pregnant with a glance, and lots and lots and lots of drumming. Chicago Filmmakers, through July 5 (1229 W. Belmont, 281-8788). Fridays and Saturdays 10 PM; Sundays, 7 PM. $8, $7 for members.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Leslie Slavin.