Jerico the Fool and Darshan With Custer | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Jerico the Fool and Darshan With Custer


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Jerico the Fool and Darshan With Custer, Curious Theatre Branch, at the Lunar Cabaret. It's always a joy to watch Curious Theatre member Beau O'Reilly in action, and his appearance in Bryn Magnus's elliptical monologue Jerico the Fool is no exception. Seated in a darkened corner of the Lunar Cabaret stage, O'Reilly delivers Magnus's extended monologue, about a terminally unlucky working stiff, with so much charm and conviction it's hard to believe he's not improvising. Rich as Magnus's meditations on fishing, drinking, football, and Murphy's Law are, the key to the production is O'Reilly's naturalistic performance. He never rises from his reclining position or raises his voice--he doesn't have to. Few actors can get by with such a bare minimum of facial expressions and gestures. Then again, few actors are as devoted to their craft as O'Reilly.

Frank Melcori's dense Darshan With Custer, which opens the evening, loses something in its translation to the stage. On paper its premise--a man stumbles into a psychiatric ward claiming to be General Custer--is intriguing. But both Melcori as the doctor and Matthew Owens as the man who would be Custer are monologuists, and it shows in their performances: there's plenty of interrogation in Darshan With Custer but not much real interaction. With pruning, Melcori's script might develop into a better showcase for the actors' talents, but as it stands now there's too little character development and too much circular dialogue. --Nick Green

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