Bad-Ass & the Devil | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Bad-Ass & the Devil



It's easy to get distracted by all the gore in writer-director Arik Martin's nightmarish black comedy. The first time I saw Bad-Ass & the Devil, in July of 2000, I left the theater shaken and queasy. The second time--a year later for a weekend revival--I became anesthetized to the ritualistic bloodletting and began to really hear Martin's ironic dialogue. ("Stabbing," remarks one character, "well, it's not an exact science.") This time, I started noticing how much attention Martin pays to atmospherics. Dieter Frank's haunting score has the same push-pull effect as Bernard Herrmann's classic Hitchcock sound tracks. Whoever did the uncredited lighting directs a single spotlight on the front seat of the car that traps the play's wayward souls, making the characters' shadows dance along the back wall like devilish specters. And Martin's cast is more seductive than ever: the expressive Gary Sugarman, John Wilson, and J. Scott throw in as many red herrings as actual clues. After sold-out performances at last year's New York International Fringe Festival, Bad-Ass & the Devil returns to Chicago for an open run, celebrating Half Cocked Productions' exclusive lease on the Space. It seems fans of the company's highly visceral work can expect a steady stream of Half Cocked productions. The Space, 4829 N. Damen, 773-297-2745. Open run: Fridays-Saturdays, 10:13 PM. $13.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Reid Paxson.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →