Category: Mammals, The

Review: All Girl Dracula (The Chicago Mammals)

Sarah Koerner as Dracula in The Chicago Mammal's "All Girl Dracula," adapted and directed by Bob Fisher.          
      
All Girl Dracula 

Adapted/Directed by Bob Fisher
   from novel by Bram Stoker 
Zoo Studios, 4001 N. Ravenswood (map)
thru Nov 21 |  tix: $28  | more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

October 26, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: All Girl Frankenstein (The Chicago Mammals)

Amy E. Harmon and Sarah Koerner star in The Chicago Mammals' "All Girl Frankenstein," adapted and directed by Bob Fisher. (photo credit: Bob Fisher)        
      
All Girl Frankenstein

Adapted and Directed by Bob Fisher
From the classic novel by Mary Shelley
at Zoo Studios, 4001 N. Ravenswood (map)
thru Nov 23 Dec 14  |  tickets: $25   |  more info
       
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November 4, 2013 | 2 Comments More

Review: Waiting for Godot (The Mammals)

Justin Warren and Sean Ewert in The Mammal's "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett, directed by Bob Fisher.        
       
   
Waiting for Godot
 

Written by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Bob Fisher
at Zoo Studios, 4001 N. Ravenswood (map)
thru Feb 9  |  tickets: $22   |  more info
       
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January 22, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Don’t Give That Beast a Name (The Mammals)

Erin Orr as Marie, in The Mammals' "Don't Give That Beast a Name," by Randall Colburn and Bob Fisher, continues through November 3rd at Zoo Studio.        
       
Don’t Give That Beast a Name 

Written by Randall Colburn and Bob Fisher
Directed by Bob Fisher
at Zoo Studio, 4001 N. Ravenswood (map)
thru Nov 3  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
       
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September 25, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: All Girl Moby Dick (The Mammals)

Liz Chase as Queeqeug in The Mammals' "All Girl Moby Dick", adapted by Bob Fisher and Sara Gorsky. (photo credit: Bob Fisher)       
      
All Girl Moby Dick 

Adapted by Bob Fisher and Sara Gorsky 
Directed by Bob Fisher
Zoo Studio, 4001 N. Ravenswood (map)
thru May 26 June 9  |  tix: $20  |  more info
       
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April 24, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Devils Don’t Forget (The Mammals)

Dennis Frymire as Buster in The Mammals' "Devils Don't Forget," by Bob Fisher.       
      
Devils Don’t Forget 

Written and Directed by Bob Fisher
at Zoo Studio, 4001 N. Ravenswood (map)
thru Feb 25  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
       
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January 15, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Put My ___ in Your ____ (The Mammals)

     
Put My X in Your X - The Mammals
Put My ____ in Your ____
 

Written and Directed by Bob Fisher  
at Zoo Studio, 4001 Ravenswood (map)
thru Aug 27  |  tickets: $20 (BYOB)  |  more info

Check for half-price tickets

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August 7, 2011 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Dream Journal of Doctor Jekyll (The Mammals)

  
  

Mammals’ dream journal struggles to maintain balance

  
  

Gabe Garza as Hyde, Sarah Scanlon as Eve - The Mammals - Dream Journal of Doctor Jekyll

   
The Mammals present
   
The Dream Journal of Doctor Jekyll
  
Written by Jason Adams, Scott Barsotti, Randall Colburn, Bob Fisher,
Reina Hardy, Warwick Johnson and Jeremy Menekseoglu
Directed by
Bob Fisher
at
Zoo Studio, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ste B-1 (map)
through April 2  |  tickets: $20  | 
more info

Reviewed by by Barry Eitel

In their The Dream Journal of Doctor Jekyll, The Mammals are quick to dismiss Robert Louis Stevenson, decrying his novel as a “penny dreadful.” Instead, at the onset of the play, our guide Professor Oliver Mastodon Peale says that we are about to get a taste of the real story. He claims that next to the titular doctor’s eviscerated body laid a book, half written in neat cursive, half written in near-illegible handwriting. This adaptation, as we’re led to believe, is actually a dramatization of that story. It’s a bold move; one that breathes life into the Victorian-era tale.

Gabe Garza as Hyde - Dream Journal of Doctor Jeckyll - The MammalsKnown for their exploration of the horrific and grotesque, Dr. Jekyll and his alter-ego Mr. Hyde provide ample fodder for the Mammals. However, the play can never decide whether it is a gothic descent into hell or a smartly-done spoof. In the end, the show becomes a victim of taking itself too seriously.

In lieu of actors, claims Peale (Jason Adams wrapped in a robe and marvelously fake moustache), he has hired sleepwalkers. We watch as Jekyll (Scott Barsotti) battles, comforts, and eventually succumbs to Hyde (Gabe Garza). Basically, it’s a story dwelling on the well-explored turf of Apollonian versus Dionysian. The Mammals make very clear that Jekyll is a man of science while Hyde concerns himself with art and magic (usually through harming cats). We watch as Jekyll, through Hyde, tears into those around him and, finally, into himself.

The play was written by committee, with contributions by Jason Adams, Scott Barsotti, Randall Colburn, Bob Fisher, Reina Hardy, Warwick Johnson, and Jeremy Menekseoglu (whew). It works best when Jekyll and Hyde play off each other like some sort of bipolar comedy duo. The most memorable scene is when the boorish Hyde becomes Jekyll’s wingman, giving him terrible advice for wooing Eve (Sarah Scanlon).

The writers seem to have taken for granted that we all know how the story ends, and the play clumsily spirals into the finale without much concrete motivation. The last couple of scenes, although striking, don’t really connect into a fully-realized arc. The framing device, although funny, doesn’t help things. For some reason, a pair of Siamese twins (Ashlee Edgemon and Anne Marie Boyer, who are not real conjoined twins) do what they can to derail Peale’s demonstration. It also seems like flute-wielding demons are trying to take over the show? Whatever they’re up to, the soundtrack they provide is eerily excellent.

Gabe Garza as Hyde, Sarah Scanlon as Eve, in The Mammals' original production of 'The Dream Journal of Doctor Jekyll', now playing at Zoo Studio.I take issue with the writers’ casual remarks about pedophilia and rape. Some of Hyde’s comments seem like cheap shots for shock value. The play’s moments of high tension are usually overblown, like when Scanlon and Garza scream at each other as they discuss the nature of screams. Again, it’s the comedy that should’ve been the star—the funniest moments can be subversive yet push the story forward. While not one of the smartest points of the show, Garza rolling around on the floor after a punch to the groin and groaning “My balls!” is a highlight.

Either way, the cast fully commits to the material, whether they’re playing a short tune on the dulcimer or screaming at the audience. And some fascinating moments are pulled out of the general chaos. In the last few scenes, a tired Peale goes into a beautifully metatheatrical monologue about the nature of art. John Ross Wilson’s cabinet-o-curios set provides a feast for the eyes, with plenty of drawers and doors for the cast to open and close. Like a dream, a lot of Dream Journal doesn’t quite make sense, but it definitely keeps your interest. Claiming ‘but that’s the point!’ seems a lazy argument to me, but it works well enough to keep this massive collaboration hammering along.

  
  
Rating: ★★½
  
  

Gabe Garza as Hyde, in The Mammals' 'The Dream Journal of Doctor Jekyll'

The Dream Journal of Doctor Jekyll continues through April 2nd at Zoo Studio, 4001 N. Ravenswood #B1, with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 10pm.  BYOB! Tickets are $20, and reservations can be made by calling  866-593-4614.

  
  
March 8, 2011 | 0 Comments More