Count on Barrel of Monkeys to be clever, funny, and energetic no matter what. For the past four years a rotating cast of its actors has reimagined often bizarre, always hilarious stories they get from young Chicago Public Schools students–simple tales about birthday parties, sibling rivalries, and dance contests and more whimsical ones about adventures in space, on motorcycles, and with dolphins–each joyously presented as if it made perfect sense. For its appearance in the Theatre on the Lake series this inventive company has gathered its strongest members and ratcheted the stage effects up a notch, performing recent favorites (look for Laura Grey’s standout performance on a My First Sony kids’ keyboard) and some classics (the troupe is adding Kraftwerk lighting to “The Dog Was Dead,” a favorite with fans). Opens Wed 7/27, 7:30 PM. Through 7/31: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 6:30 PM. Theater on the Lake, Fullerton and Lake Shore Dr., 312-742-7994. $17.50.

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