Him | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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It takes ambition to perform E.E. Cummings's seldom produced 1924 play, which includes circus and vaudeville elements representing dreams and the subconscious as well as tedious scenes depicting the decline of a romance. In her director's note, Whitney Blakemore writes that Him was "completely original for its time," yet today it doesn't feel so groundbreaking. Alison Siple's costume designs are pleasantly whimsical, Robert Whitaker's set sometimes elicits exciting images, and a live band adds energy to the second act. But in general this experimental piece is short on entertainment. We have to strain to hear David Schultz, who makes Him's cleverness more insufferable than charming, and although Julia Siple as Him's disappointed lover does offer occasional insight into relationships, overall the work is so determinedly strange that the show is never satisfying as theater. Through 6/25: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 773-296-6024. $15-$18; industry nights Thu 6/2 and Sun 6/5.

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