There’s much to admire in playwright-magician Dennis Watkins’s Tim Burton-esque clown show for House Theatre of Chicago. His magic tricks range from charming to mind-blowing, and then there’s Collette Pollard’s handsome yet creepy design, Lucas Marino’s childlike video dream segments, Kevin O’Donnell’s melancholy score, and director Molly Brennan’s precise routines for the three clown narrators (she and assistant director Paul Kalina are members of 500 Clown). But this abundance of talent is put in service of a sketchy, maudlin, glacially paced story about a dying magician teaching his craft to an impressionable young mute boy. Watkins says the show pays homage to his recently deceased magician grandfather, so he may be too close to the material to see how little depth it has. –Justin Hayford a Through 11/3: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM, Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 773-251-2195 $17-$22, industry shows Thu and Sun.