I Know What You Did Last Shermer | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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I Know What You Did Last Shermer

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I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SHERMER, New Millennium Theatre Company, at Boxer Rebellion Theater. This late-night comedy written by Chad Wise (based on Leslie Kerrigan's concept) and fleshed out by the company focuses on teen movies and TV shows, mostly of the 80s. And the premise has potential, as John Hughes is kidnapped by characters from Kevin Williamson's Scream and Dawson's Creek. Macaulay Culkin gets word of the kidnapping to Anthony Michael Hall, and the former geek goes to Shermer, Illinois--Hughes's fictional setting for Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and other films--to gather a gang to save the source of his residual checks.

Despite some good jokes, apt imitations, and silly sex shenanigans, this is a dull parody. Wise's story has little narrative coherence, and the jokes don't pay off often. The device of using Cameron Crowe films as a bridge between the narcissism of the 80s and of today is underdeveloped, and Wise's staging is unfocused: short, haphazard scenes follow long scene changes. A mediocre cast does its best to convey the script's parboiled potshots, sexed-up scene rip-offs, and familiar characters. The night I saw this 60-minute show there was more joyful nostalgia beforehand than after it started, as audience members amused themselves by trying to match up the characters with the appropriate film or to identify a nagging 80s tune.

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