Curse of the Crying Heart | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Curse of the Crying Heart

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In the second installment of Nathan Allen's "Valentine Trilogy," the cowboy/punk Melancholy Kid finds himself in feudal Japan saving princess Sakurako and her government. But despite imaginative writing, an inventive staging, and savvy performances, this show will probably be inaccessible to all but those already infatuated with anime-esque melodrama (or those who saw the first installment). Director Dennis Watkins launches the cast into Allen's convoluted saga of warlord attacks, mystic prophesy, and unrequited love without first establishing a theatrical language that might unite these disparate strands, and by keeping the script's deadly serious and glibly ironic elements separate he prevents a coherent point of view from developing. The show's ambitious scope and technical craftsmanship make for impressive spectacle. Now it needs substance: the Kid (played by Allen) has no discernible character beyond a propensity to sing when he's upset. Through 3/12: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 773-251-2195. $10-$19.

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