Hiking With Davy Crockett | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Hiking With Davy Crockett


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Hiking With Davy Crockett, Theatre-Hikes, at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center. Raised in Canada, I grew up with only a vague impression of Davy Crockett as an American frontiersman in a coonskin cap. Hiking With Davy Crockett, now being performed in an outdoor setting (though the preview I saw was inside the North Lakeside Cultural Center), taught me he played hooky from school, married twice, and was always a loving son. He was also a war hero and a conscientious politician, but we see little evidence of this. Instead this 90-minute show, directed by Linda LeVeque, tries to humanize the man through unfocused, mundane anecdotes from his autobiography, Davy Crockett's Own Story: As Written by Himself.

Adapter Frank Farrell has dispensed with action and adventure in favor of what he calls "a plain, simple tale of truth," an approach that does little to further our appreciation of Crockett: he could be any cocky but kindly man surrounded by colorful characters, such as a coy first love and strong-willed mother. As Crockett, Michael Gyorgy Cservenak can be charming, but more often he seems uneasy with the audience and his fellow actors. The show might gain vitality when it's performed on the move, but ultimately it's done a disservice to its subject, hinting at Crockett's heroism and future greatness but failing to show us any extraordinary feats.

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