An Element Never Forgets | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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An Element Never Forgets

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An Element Never Forgets, Galileo Players, at Victory Gardens Theater. Chemistry was my least favorite subject in high school, which may have colored my opinion that there's too much of it in this sketch-comedy show. But even the science geek I brought with me agreed that the Galileo Players were best when they poked fun at things besides the periodic table.

This five-person ensemble provides smart, distinctive comedy inspired by the practices and personalities of science. Thomas Edison is a gangster backed by thugs threatening to test Newton's laws of force and motion on his competition. Pythagoras leads a cult of math enthusiasts beside themselves with joy when he gives them word problems. Two lab workers sing a pop ballad longing for a litmus test for love. In the night's sharpest satire, the big bang theory is pitted against a comforting giant-turtle fable of creation. Christopher Day, Ronnie Feldman, Matt Hovde, Megan Kellie, and Jennifer Shepard use clever character work, humorous songs, and slapstick to give the comedy life.

Yet the device they keep coming back to in their seventh revue, directed by Margaret Dube, is personifying the lesser-known elements. The screeching Indium, Frankenstein-like Astatine, hippie Berkelium, and Swedish Ytterbium are funny but can't sustain the show. Shortening these creative but silly segments and expanding the witty, original scenes suggested by the spirit of discovery could prompt even more audience laughter.

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