Birds | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Hurt McDermott's modernized, unfunny adaptation for TUTA (The Utopian Theatre Asylum) dulls the satiric bite of Aristophanes' classic comedy. The bland script makes few sharp observations on politics and peace, and its fleeting moments of wit can't compensate for the ensemble's listless delivery. Director Zeljko Djukic seems so concerned with making this an extravaganza that he overlooks basic storytelling: the central shift in the protagonist, who's arrived to keep peace among the birds but is corrupted by ambition and power, has too little impact in this production. Instead style takes precedence over substance throughout. It's a vibrant moment when the birds make their fashion-runway entrance, which showcases Natasha Vuchurovich Djukic's inventive costumes, but ultimately it's irrelevant to the story. And although some of Natasha Bogojevich's original music adds to the momentum or the mood, overall the chorus's songs slow a production that already seems too long. Through 4/30: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Mon 4/25, 8 PM. Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 847-217-0691. $15-$20; industry nights Thu, Sun, and Mon 4/25.

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