Climbing the Volcano | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Climbing the Volcano

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A businessman with no memory, an ecologist who hates people, a homicidal/suicidal explorer, and a field guide with no sense of direction team up to climb a rumbling volcano, shepherded by an earth mother who tends to everyone's emotional needs. Noted Paris playwright Victor Haim's "fable" is a tough nut to crack, especially given his penchant for squeezing philosophy from every stone ("There will be disagreements when you're climbing volcanoes," one character muses). If the play harbors allegorical depths, Sarah Gabel's production--part of the Playing French festival--obscures them in its quest for laughs. But given her uneven cast--the five actors appear to be performing in five different plays--her approach at least makes this 90-minute show entertaining. And kudos to Piccolo Theatre artistic director John Szostek for christening his brand-new theater--a former waiting room in an Evanston Metra train station--with such noncommercial fare. Through 12/19: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 and 8 PM. Evanston Arts Depot, 600 Main, Evanston, 847-328-2204. $15-$20.

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