Deep-Fried and Suck My Nose | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Deep-Fried and Suck My Nose

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Sweetback Productions, at Cafe Voltaire.

The characters in these one-person shows come from families other people might prefer to keep hidden. Kelly's mother and grandmother were Deep South romantics who remained loyal to handsome, dashing, and cruelly abusive husbands. Mike is the son of a hyperorderly police detective and the grandson of an Italian-American automobile dealer who fancied himself a borscht belt comedian. But Kelly, an actress-cum-coffee barista, doesn't resent her legacy of suppressed anger, nor does Mike, the magician-cum-shoe salesman, regret the eccentric habits he's inherited from his family.

At a time when confessional monologues about performers' crazy, hateful families or crazy, lovable families are as common as discarded candy wrappers at a carnival, Kelly Anchors, who wrote and performs Deep-Fried, and Mike McKune, who wrote and performs Suck My Nose, eschew easy formulas, telling their stories with candor and without judgmentalism, ridicule, or hee-haw hyperbole. Augmenting the stories, but never getting in their way, are a series of slides of the ancestors in question and some lovely Appalachian-harmony folk ballads, accompanied on guitar by director John Keeney and technical director Dan Tamarkin.

On Fridays this refreshingly original and engaging little show occupies a late-night slot at Cafe Voltaire, though on Tuesdays it's performed at an earlier hour. Certainly this 50-minute gem deserves all the accessibility and exposure it can get.

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