Posted inArts & Culture

That’s Weird, Grandma

Barrel of Monkeys retains its foolproof central conceit for this new evening of short plays by Chicago Public School students, grades three through six. Performed by a troupe of adult hipsters and cheerfully produced with the shabby budget of a Charlie Brown Christmas pageant, the resulting madcap hour has the broadest appeal of any play […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Howie the Rookie

Contemporary Irish drama checklist: Nearly indecipherable blue-collar brogues? Check. Crude euphemisms for sex with ugly girls? Check. Whiskey? Check. Stories detailing grotesque violence? Check. Mark O’Rowe’s two back-to-back monologues have all the most corrosive elements of recent Irish plays, but in Mike Tutaj’s staging they also offer humor and poetry. Pickled blackguards Howie and Rookie […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Legs! Control Top

Surely there are no other Sheena Easton-Condoleezza Rice fans like monologuist Michael Moore: he fawns over them equally, creating flourishing fantasies of what their lives must be like. The only thing unifying this evening of random personal anecdotes–Moore was a typical white trash kid who dreamed of becoming a musical-theater diva–is his enthusiasm for relaying […]

Posted inArts & Culture

No Way to Treat a Lady

Jazz musicals about famous killers are an odd American staple, but they generally sell tickets. Composer Douglas J. Cohen aims to capitalize on the genre in his pop-pastiche adaptation of the quirky 1968 film No Way to Treat a Lady, but whether or not he succeeds can’t possibly be determined from William Pullinsi’s chintzy, cardboard […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Midnight Hellhouse

Two abortions are depicted onstage in this send-up of evangelical Christian haunted houses that use scenes of sinners in hell to scare visitors into “piety.” One abortion is performed by a rabid stem-cell addict who bites into a pregnant woman’s abdomen in order to devour her fetus. In the other a woman aborts the Christ […]