Innocence and Other Vices | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Innocence and Other Vices


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Innocence and Other Vices, Theater Oobleck, at Square One Cafe Loft. Theater Oobleck returns just in time for the elections hoopla with a cogent if occasionally awkward portrait of unholy alliances between church and state. Dave Bucachon's one-hour allegory about an incestuous brother and sister--one a kingpin of industry, the other a "living saint" in the Mother Teresa mode--is like a quick and dirty version of Brecht's Saint Joan of the Stockyards, with a lot less exposition and a lot more physical comedy and sight gags.

Bucachon--who also plays the kingpin, Mr. Mister--has created a finely honed, often quite funny analysis of the hypocrisy of capitalist philanthropy. When Mr. Mister's sister, Mother Isa, finds out that her brother intends to turn his industries over to the workers, thus eliminating the need for poverty programs, she takes desperate measures to preserve her charitable fiefdom and ensure her sainthood. Kat McJimsey's sturdy, intelligent portrayal of the scheming nun meshes nicely with Bucachon's physically adept performance; he spends most of the evening with his feet "nailed" to the floor center stage, impersonating a chair.

As is often the case with Oobleck shows, some points are made a few too many times, and some transitions feel forced. But with solid supporting performances by Sarah Weidmann, Chad Southard, and Dan Telfer, this show is a fine way to remind yourself that paranoia just might be the ultimate awareness these days.

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