Flamingo Sketches | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Flamingo Sketches

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Back Eye Studio at Hidden Stages Chicago.

The one saving grace in this production of Andrew Jackson's Flamingo Sketches is little-known Chicago trumpeter and composer Larry Wilson's ambitious and exciting score--a blend of traditional jazz, hip hop, and funk that recalls latter-day Miles Davis. However, sitting through the scenes that surround Wilson's music is near torture.

Jackson's underdeveloped, poorly paced script concerns three thinly drawn women and their effects on the life of a self-involved musician. One woman's a needy smack addict who cramps the guy's style. "Bitch, don't ever ask me to love you more than I love my music," he tells her on the way out the door. Another's a castrating executive: it's either her way "or the highway." The one he winds up with is a sexpot who'll accept him on any terms he sets.

Of course the play suffers from its absurdly sexist characterizations, but it offends aesthetic sensibilities long before moral ones. The dialogue is one cliche after another: "I'm gonna stick by you no matter how bad you treat me," the first woman tells our hero. Jackson's direction is stunningly amateurish and the uncredited choreography looks as if it were directed by Jack LaLanne.

Awful.

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