Bobbie Clearly | Steep Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Bobbie Clearly Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 5 2016

What were the odds that two Chicago theater companies would begin their fall seasons with dark-comic critiques of Christianity involving therapeutic hand puppets? First Victory Gardens opened Robert Askins's Hand to God, in which a Texas teen's Muppet-esque manikin takes on a demonic life of its own; now Steep presents Alex Lubischer's new play about a small-town Nebraska boy, home again after serving time for the murder of one of his high school classmates, whose various bids for acceptance include ventriloquism. Both shows are designed to expose the hypocrisies of piety by jamming the ridiculous up against the dead serious. But only Hand to God succeeds. Rather than generate energy from incongruity, Bobbie Clearly director Josh Sobel lets it drain away. In his uncertain staging, the title character and his neighbors come off as (mostly oafish) rhetorical mechanisms. —Tony Adler

Price: $10-$35

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