This show offers giddy fun but not a thorough biography of silent-screen comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, whose career was ruined when a chorus girl died in his hotel room. That scandal is fodder for many songs in the latter part of this 80-minute revue, but you'll leave with little information about Arbuckle's journey to stardom or his loyal wife--Sarah Gubbins's book is as thin as Arbuckle's straight man, Buster Keaton. Created by Gubbins, songwriter John Fournier, director Shade Murray, and musical director Birgitta Victorson, the show features some of the city's best physical comedians and vocalists. Amy Warren brings great feeling to Arbuckle's wife, Robbie Fulks's portrayal of a maniacal William Randolph Hearst offers a scorching indictment of media power, Michelle L'amour is confidently coy in her burlesque routine, and Molly Brennan gives her starlet a delightful don't-mess-with-me glimmer as she takes the stage with a gun or knives. The cast does a great job with the slapstick, too, especially in the scene when Halena Kays as a Keystone Kop chases Thomas M. Shea's wide-eyed Arbuckle and Dominic Conti's brilliantly elastic Keaton, all three throwing themselves fearlessly around the stage. Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln, 800-594-8499. Through August 24: Tuesdays, 8:30 PM. $17.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/John Flak.