Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

The Glorious and Bloodthirsty Billy the Kid--The Greatest Serial Killer of Our Time! A Wild West Show & Cabaret



If I were the House Theatre of Chicago, I'd be glad the Tricklock Company is just passin' through. These kids also hail from parts southern and boast a dazzling array of performance skills, but the Albuquerque-based Tricklock seems a shadier lot, a Near Dark gang to the House's Lost Boys. The stunt-filled western cabaret they're bringing to Chicago invites comparison to the House's San Valentino and the Melancholy Kid, and it certainly draws on similar influences and trends, from Sam Shepard to a highly physical interdisciplinary approach. But Billy the Kid is fanciful history, not genre tribute, and the Tricklock's rough-and-tumble pastiche is actually closer to vintage Organic or Curious stuff. In fact, back in New Mexico the company curates a Rhino-style performance festival, and the Chicago edition of its late-night variety show, The Reptilian Lounge, features Curious heavyweight Jenny Magnus. And though this bio of the old west's most notorious outlaw inevitably trucks in the adolescent death fantasy at the heart of American hero worship--another path well worn by the House--the Tricklock subjects that fantasy to a more caustic cultural critique. If these posses ever faced off, it'd make for a helluva shootout. Directed by company founder Joe Pesce and written by Pesce and the cast, the show is performed by Chad Brummett, Kate Schroeder, Kristin de la O, Byron Laurie, and Summer Olsson, with Kevin R. Elder as Billy. In addition to Magnus, The Reptilian Lounge features music by Joe Tech and Chris Salveter and performance by Denise Chapmen. Prop Thtr, 3502-4 N. Elston, 773-539-7838. Opens Thursday, August 5, 8 PM. Through August 8: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 3 PM. $15-$20. The Reptilian Lounge one night only: Thursday, August 5, 10:30 PM. $15.77.

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