In this delightful all-ages entertainment, performers Hugo Suarez Flores and Ines Pasic combine a childlike absorption with their own bodies and the superb technique of two experienced artist-athletes. In a sometimes wacky, sometimes wistful program of wordless comedy vignettes, the pair reshape their body parts into highly individualized puppets–like kids often do, only with the physical skill and imagination of supremely gifted dancer-mimes. With the aid of a strap-on nose and a floppy costume, Hugo turns his knee into a bouncy, bald-headed street musician who strums a ukulele and beams with goofy pleasure at the audience’s response; this is the Ginocchio of the title, whose name (recalling that of another well-known puppet-person) comes from the Italian word for knee. In another scene, Ines uses a prop nose and sock hat to transform her extended bare foot into a grouchy old gawker; the incredible flexibility of her foot and ankle turns a clever visual joke into an enchanting illusion as well as a probing examination of the link between “pure” movement and emotional expression. Hugo’s from Peru, Ines from Bosnia-Herzegovina; touring as Teatro Hugo & Ines–and arriving here as the opening event in Performing Arts Chicago’s promising new international theater series–the team combines mime, dance, puppetry, and clowning into a charming and often hilarious show that’s truly perfect for all ages and cultures; not since the great Marceau in his heyday have I been so entranced by an evening of wordless wonderment. Athenaeum Annex Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 722-5463. Opens Tuesday, September 13, 7:30 PM. Through September 17: Thursday, 7:30 PM; Friday, 8 PM; Saturday, 2 and 8 PM. $20; $10 for children.

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