The Rhino in Winter

Offered as an adjunct to the annual summer Rhinoceros Theatre Festival, this monthlong showcase of fringe performance features work by the likes of locals Jenny Magnus, Beau O’Reilly, Frank Melcori, David Isaacson, Scott Turner, and James Schneider. The fest runs through March 2 at the Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln, 327-6666. Shows take place almost every night and there are matinees most weekends, as indicated in the listings below (which are subject to change; audiences are advised to call the festival for updates). Tickets are $7 per show (except where noted in individual listings) or $10 for two shows.

The Reader lists festival offerings on a week-by-week basis; following is the schedule for February 15 through 22.


Starrs at Lunar

Veteran poet John Starrs’s weekly series of spoken-word performances continues with guest artist Judith S. Greer. 7 PM.

The Sad Ballad of Johnny Reb and His Beautiful Wife Cecile

Playwright-actor Scott Turner’s one-man show combines songs and storytelling to create a “chilling portrait of a gun-toting, wife-abusing loser gone feral,” said Reader critic Jack Helbig when he reviewed the performance last year. 9 PM.


The Julieannes

“Boyfriends are dissected and digested” when two women with the same name meet, in the Curious Theatre Branch’s production of Bryn Magnus’s new play. The play “opens with all the dazzling linguistic turns and imaginative leaps that have solidified Magnus’s reputation among the off-off-off-off-Loop crowd, [but] fizzles into an oddly dispassionate jumble,” says Reader critic Justin- Hayford. 8 PM.

Betty’s Mouth

Cin Salach and Sheila Donahue, described as “singers of spoken word,” deliver performance poetry. 10 PM.


The Snow Queen

A cast of kids and grownups perform Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, featuring an original score by folk composer Michael Smith. 2 PM.

The Third Degrees of J.0. Breeze

“The menacing but relentlessly personable J.0. Breeze … interviews applicants for a mysterious job that somehow holds the promise of salvation for all mankind” in Beau O’Reilly’s “stunningly staged, exquisitely performed two-act investigation of the limits of love and compassion,” said Reader critic Justin Hayford when he originally reviewed this Curious Theatre Branch production. 8 PM.

That’s What I Feared

The German music-theater quartet Klangbuhne Guricht offers a multimedia 11 “scenic collage” about “the secret insecurity we feel reflecting us in a mirror ” featuring texts by Borges, Wittgenstein, and Nietzsche. 10:30 PM.


Bleeding Clear

Shea Nangle’s one-man show is an “autobiographical nightmare [that] chronicles a life of chronic drug abuse, alcoholic tears, and repeated sexual molestation. Nangle’s ambivalence gives Bleeding Clear the palpable edge lacking in so many of the carefully packaged autobiographical pieces around town…. The result is one of the purest and most disturbing theatrical experiences you’re likely to see,” says Reader critic Justin Hayford. 3 PM.

That’s What I Feared

See listing for Saturday. 8 PM.


The Third Degrees of J.0. Breeze

See listing for Saturday. 8 PM.


The Spy Was in Stitches: The Further Adventures of Secret Agent Man

Theater Oobleck presents David Isaacson’s new parody of post-Cold War capitalist competition, the sequel to his 1991 The Spy Threw His Voice: A Plagiarism in Two Acts. 8 PM. $7; “more if you’ve got it, free if you’re broke.” (Reviewed this week in Section One.)


Someone’s in the Kitchen With Mommy

Ruth Oliver performs a one-woman evening of “Appalachian storytelling, snapshot by snapshot while the biscuits are baking.” 8 PM.

The Fantastic Four vs. the Moleman

This program of solo performance features Paul Leisman in Raymond Federman’s “The Line”; Meredith Neuman in her own “Witchcraft: What’s in It for Me?” Michael Martin in his new piece “Pattern Recognition”; and Paul Tamney in Bryn Magnus’s “Horse of Love.” 9 PM.


Starrs at Lunar

Veteran poet John Starrs welcomes the Neo-Futurists’ David Kodeski to this installment of his spoken-word series. 7 PM.

I’m Afraid to Quit My Job

Monologuist Frank Melcori offers what he hopes is “a modern ‘De Profundis'” about a man who “attempts to describe both his self-loathing and his fear at his inability to quit a job he dislikes as well as the uncertain future he does face if he quits it.” 9 PM.