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Fall Arts Guide 2009 Best Bets: Robin Williams

October 2 at the Rosemont Theatre. (We know, we know—but hear us out.)

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I know. I used to get weary of the giddy, character-heavy riffing, too. Now I'm thrilled to go along for the ride. What's changed? Maybe it's me. I've got a greater appreciation for Williams's risk taking, a more acute sense of the pleasure involved in seeing a performer confident and talented enough to let go of a script and expose some rawness. You just see more humanity in Williams than in most stand-ups. Few comics playing to large crowds would take his gambles, and with such speed and once-in-a-generation dialect range. If Williams's trademark perambulating mind had lost a step, or if he'd gravitated to fully prepared sets—the safe kind most big-name comics do—then he might be just another celebrity moonlighting between Night at the Museum sequels. But this tour isn't a greatest-hits revue. At 58, Williams is still shrewdly observing the American scene, still building new material, and leaving lots of room for manic improvisation. 10/2, Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont, 847-671-5100 $49.50-$95. —Ryan Hubbard

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