Exit the King | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Exit the King

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Eugene Ionesco's monarch takes "Long live the King!" to heart. Berenger has been enjoying life for some 400 years while his mismanaged kingdom flounders, so he's totally unprepared for the Doctor's dire prediction that he'll die within 90 minutes. Ionesco makes smart, witty observations in this lesser work, but overall Lance Eliot Adams's staging for Theo Ubique Theatre Company lacks the light touch that would have made the farce fun. Bob Kaercher is a fine and funny king, swinging smoothly through many emotions as he resists, laments, and finally resigns himself to death. Pat Parks hurtles through her lines as his throne-hungry wife while Amanda Hartley plays his sensual spouse, Matt Andrew is dull as the Doctor, Lindley Gibbs overplays the maidservant, and Seth Remington's Guard is sporadically silly. Naturalistic acting would have been wrong, but this cast's too obvious efforts on a small stage lessen our enjoyment. Through 4/24: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Heartland Studio Theater, 7016 N. Glenwood, 312-622-7197. $12-$15; $5 or "pay what you can" Thu.

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