Tag: Actors Gymnasium
In a theater community as diverse and talented as Chicago’s, every aspect and genre of stage productions can be found throughout the city on a given week. 2015 was no exception to this fact, as one can see from our reviewers’ picks of the year’s greatest and most memorable works.
Energetic production will charm, warm and wow you
|The Actors Gymnasium presents|
|Lost and Found: a Recycled Circus|
|Created by Larry DiStasi and Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi
at Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Evanston (map)
thru March 13 | tickets: $10-$15 | more info
Reviewed by Paige Listerud
There’s something rather “Mad Max” about Lost and Found: a Recycled Circus. Its child performers are costumed in ragged, industrial odds and ends, recalling Tina Turner and the Thunderdome more than an Actors Gymnasium production at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. An apocalyptic circus at the end of the world suits, with its the rag-tag cast carrying on with life’s basic concerns and recreating new wonder out of the old and nearly forgotten. Under the direction of Larry DiStasi, a circus tradition is handed down to younger generations—a little worn and hodge-podge, but no less exciting for all that.
Andrew Adams, Zoe Boyer, Will Howard, Matt Roben, Meredith “Tommy” Tomlins and Lindsey Noel Whiting make up the adult members of the cast, stumbling clownishly through their own dilemmas of losing and finding love. Matt Roben, in baggy clown pants, timidly and haltingly pursues Lindsey Noel Whiting who, prior to the start of the show, tries to sell concessions that include uncooked parsnips and cans of spam. Roben, who has enough on his hands with mischievous kids cramping his dating game, has a rival in the hilariously portly Will Howard, who gives Whiting a date she’ll never forget—for all the wrong reasons.
DiStasi’s direction intersperses sly and nuanced clowning with aerial work on some pretty tough and industrial circus apparatus. Imposing an almost threatening presence is an aerial ring attached to ladders that form a cone at the top and bottom. Besides an elegant performance on it rendered by two young women in synchronized movement, Whiting also takes a daring turn on it to the tune of Queen’s “Somebody To Love.” If that were not enough, on a spare tire hung from the ceiling, Whiting’s acrobatic work alone thrills with its inherent danger. Meanwhile, Andrew Adams creates wordless, impressive poetry with two suspended cords and an umbrella to an instrumental version of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.”
Lost and Found is brilliant in bits and moments. Some of these inspire with Dada-esque disjointedness, as when Hannah Schwimmer sings “Poor Wandering One” with the introduction of Howard. But the integration of Actors Gymnasium Teen Ensemble into the storyline between Roben, Whiting and Howard seems to almost be an afterthought. Their numbers create a brilliant visual impact during a choreographed juggling sequence with Adams and their drumming with the younger cast members boosts the excitement of the show. But for a high-concept sort of circus, it’s curious that their acrobatic work is not integrated with the rest of the story. DiStasi tacks their turn at the teeterboard at the end—and as an encore to the production.
Still, it’s an encore that produces a burst of energy and that’s the most beautiful thing about Lost and Found. On these final chilly and rainy days of winter, this production will charm, warm and wow you.
Lost and Found: A Recycled Circus, featuring aerial acrobatics, live music, and magical, found-object invention, continues through March 13th at the Noyes Cultural Center. Performance schedule: Fridays 7:30pm, Saturdays 4:30 and 7:30pm, Sundays 3:00pm.
Air Guitar High – Northwestern University
A Chorus Line – Village Players Performing Arts Center
The Informer – Prop Thtr
this week’s show openings
Billy: A Post-Apocolyptic Comedy – Northwestern University
Bloom – Bailiwick Chicago
Cabaret – The Hypocrites
Curse of the Starving Class – New Leaf Theatre
The Diary of Anne Frank – Metropolis Performing Arts Centre
The Doctor’s Dilemma – ShawChicago
Elictracidad – DePaul’s Merle Reskin Theatre
The Farnsworth Invention – TimeLine Theatre
Girls vs. Boys – The House Theatre of Chicago
Hephaestus – Lookingglass Theatre
Little Women: The Musical – Loyola University Chicago
The Musical of Musicals (The Musical) – Dominican University
Oliver – Rising Stars Theatre Company
The Original Improv Gladiators – Corn Productions
Moses in Egypt – Chicago Opera Theater
Six Dead Queens and an Inflatable Henry – Piccolo Theatre
Spring Awakening – Promethean Theatre Ensemble
The Taming of the Shrew – Chicago Shakespeare Theater
The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek – 20% Theatre Chicago
Welcome to Arroyo’s – American Theater Company