Double Climax | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Double Climax

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Confessional monologues may be all the rage among solo performers, but the one-person shows I really admire are those in which the actor actually acts--and creates an entire universe. Almost two years ago Heather Woodbury blew me away with her epic multievening, 100-character solo show What Ever (An American Odyssey in 8 Acts). Now comes K. Brian Neel, a member of Seattle Mime Theatre, in a solo show packed with the low-life denizens of a fictional blue-collar world--swaggering dudes, self-deluding barflies, tough working-class women. They're all involved in a complicated plot as mayhem is unleashed when someone is (perhaps) accidentally shot. Neel's tale, structured like a film, lacks the sweep of Woodbury's stories and her vision, but he shares her gift for flipping from one character to another and then back, using his Jim Carrey-esque rubber face and amazingly pliable body. He's also able to summon up the scummy, paranoid world of his script--a blend of tabloids and film noir--using only the most minimal of props, a chair. Chopin studio, Friday, September 8, 11 PM; Sunday, September 10, 11 PM. --Jack Helbig

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