Caught in the Net | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Caught in the Net

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

CAUGHT IN THE WEB, Performance Theatre, at the Performance Loft, Second Unitarian Church of Chicago. This interesting hybrid of long-form improvisation and conventional playwriting has promise, but in the end Kelsey Hartman's confusing new comedy garners more puzzlement than laughs. With the Performance Theatre ensemble, Hartman and director Darcy Hughes have cobbled together two one-acts about emotional dislocation in a technological world. The misfits and heroes of the plays lead surreal lives, transgressing time and space, that make very little sense despite the characters' energetic physicality. As a result the plays feel misshapen, the comedy half-baked. Caught in the Web has more enthusiasm than sense, as feminist satire and touches of performance art contrast with the cast members' casual stereotypes, both in the plays themselves and in the sloppy improv exercises between scenes.

I wanted to like this risk-taking production, which combines vastly different styles and ideas. It takes a certain amount of guts to intersperse sapphic poetry with talk-show boorishness. But during intermission I overheard one audience member rename the show "Not Enough Laughter." She was right on the mark--the Performance Theatre, in its debut production, has gotten trapped in its own complicated web. This comedy is too encrypted; it just doesn't translate.

--Carol Burbank

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?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment