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Love Pollution: A Tekno-Popera, Nomenil, Rhinoceros Theater Festival, at the Chicago Cultural Center. The whole world is ugly in Nomenil’s campy, confusing Rocky Horror-meets-Pinocchio musical, where everyone wears rainbow-colored wigs. Scientists have taken over the growing of lawns and the shining of the sun while Mother Nature (a deliciously evil Timothy Rey in drag) has decided to destroy humanity using a supervirus, presented in charming red boxes. A gang of punk rockers tries to keep humans alive by spreading “love pollution”–simple kindness and consideration. And scientist Sabita (Caren Skibell) has created the perfect plastic couple to repopulate the world once Mother Nature has done her dirty work.
Most of the story focuses on one half of that couple, Hallelujia, as she seeks out her missing (and mute) mate (Chris Piss). Inadvertently, Hallelujia attracts everyone she comes in contact with–including a lewd Santa Claus (Bill Drew) and lesbian Wonder Woman (Michelle Carl Black)–and becomes a hero to the world. She also becomes a real girl.
Andrea Cornett’s whispery, wide-eyed, baby-doll performance as Hallelujia perfectly captures the seduction of the fake in a commercial world that devalues the real. Christopher Powers’s techno-pop music is passable, but the uncredited lyrics fall flat, and the singing is usually wince inducing. Overall Allen Conkle and Courtney Evans’s story, directed by Conkle, is crass and cruel, so confusing its good-versus-evil theme that we’re unsure whose side we’re on.