In the Telling | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Griffin Theatre Company.

A pigeon attracts the attention of three children--a prim Irish girl, a shy immigrant lad, and a genial southern newsboy--who swap stories while discussing whether they risk harming the fallen bird by trying to help it. With the help of a friendly hobo, a stray dog, and a cardboard cutout of Han Solo, they act out fanciful legends from their ethnic and personal experiences, until the real and the imaginary come together to reveal the secret of the pigeon's wounds.

The premise of Elizabeth Klaviter and Amanda Dehnert's In the Telling is plausible enough for a fairy-tale universe, but a long denouement staggers under the weight of too many love-conquers-all platitudes and a thoroughly unnecessary recitation of the lessons we're to learn from these fables. The yarns that make up the main part of the show are modestly entertaining, however, augmented by Matt Raferty's spirited dances, some well-selected incidental music, and Griffin Theatre's energetic but never exaggerated performances. (Together Mark Vanasse as a naive prince and Cat Dean as an infinitely patient Fox generate some nice chemistry.)

When a show's flaws can be fixed with one more rewrite, it's a good show. Until that time, the Griffin ensemble's enthusiasm and craftsmanship smooth out the rough spots well enough to make In the Telling a pleasant hour's worth of magic and myth.

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