My wife isn’t a theater critic. She’s the wife of a theater critic. That means she sees a lot of theater she doesn’t want to just so we can have a night out together. She was feeling especially bad about this the night I arranged for us to see The Adding Machine. What could be more daunting to a woman who’d just like to spend an evening at a nice restaurant every once in a while, for Chrissake, than the prospect of a puppet show based on a 70-year-old Marxist/expressionist satire about a miserable little bean counter called Mr. Zero who murders his boss, fries for it, lucks into heaven, and then can’t hack bliss? The theater critic’s wife was not anticipating a good time. But then she saw the show. Got a taste of the Hystopolis Puppet Theater’s affable professionalism. A feel for Elmer Rice’s wicked Leo Gorcey-meets-Kafka repartee. A look at the company’s marvelously witty, incredibly sophisticated, stunningly apt puppet and set design. And she decided the evening wasn’t a total loss after all. So go see The Adding Machine: even the theater critic’s wife liked it. Hystopolis Puppet Theater, through March 30. Fridays and Saturdays, 8 PM. $12.

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