Fridge Strings: Nocturne w/ Fruit & Grandmother | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Fridge Strings: Nocturne w/ Fruit & Grandmother


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FRIDGE STRINGS: NOCTURNE W/ FRUIT & GRANDMOTHER, Flying Girl, at Strawdog Theatre. For Amanda Clower--the creator, with Jenny Magnus, of this intriguing one-woman show--Saint Augustine's "dark night of the soul" takes the form of late-night refrigerator raids. Seizing on the moment of truth when appetite yields to rumination, Clower's surrogate Mimi recalls her garrulous mother in Cleveland, with her cautionary tales of dangerous vacuum cleaners, and her grandmother Nana, a fixture at elite eateries who was always eager to complete a luncheon with a bout of bra shopping. These women are the "staples" of Mimi's life, different from the "leftovers" in her fridge. But since Nana has been injured in a fall, the security they offer no longer seems absolute.

Deliberate even when prone to panic, Mimi fastens on the anxieties that seize us in the dark--the hypochondria that goes over the day's symptoms, the isolation that seems to engulf everyone at three in the morning, the fear of aging and abandonment. The strange hour inspires bizarre speculations about the secret life inside the refrigerator, a cold womb with a comforting night light. But sometimes Clower gets stuck in her metaphors: the egg tray triggers a rather forced fantasia of guilt, for example. Mostly, however, this 40-minute late-night show works: Clower's sleep-talking rings true, and her shocks of recognition make Mimi's obsessions wakingly real.

--Lawrence Bommer

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