Berwyn Avenue | Von Orthal Puppets | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Berwyn Avenue Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 19 2010

Already its author, director, and co-designer, Cynthia Von Orthal also shows up as a character in this puppet play, appearing as a rod-operated ten-year-old living on a working-class block of the title Chicago street in 1971. And the story, about a playmate's increasingly troubled parents, is told from her ten-year-old perspective, too. Which is a problem. Von Orthal's self-imposed narrative limitation makes it nearly impossible to get inside the adults' heads. Their actions, consequently, are as opaque as they would be to a child. Why, for instance, does the friend's father cheat so blatantly on his wife? I've got no idea. Von Orthal's central characters come across as caricatures: a set of mannerisms that get repetitive and then irritating before long. It's too bad, because there are some lovely moments in the show, most of which exploit the puppets' casual relationship with gravity. --Tony Adler

Price: $15-$20


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