Madame Barker Holiday Variety Show | Prop Thtr | Theater & Performance, Holiday Shows | Chicago Reader

Madame Barker Holiday Variety Show Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Fridays. Continues through Dec. 11 2009

The last time I saw Madame Barker--during the summer, in 500 Clown and the Elephant Deal--she was at the center of an evening-length melee, with members of her crew chasing one another all over the set and into the audience. But melees are a 500 Clown thing. This is Barker's own show, and she's made it intimate and relatively orderly, though not exactly refined. The raunchy, hard-drinking chanteuse created and played by Molly Brennan hosts a roster of guest performers that changes from week to week, and sings selections from her repertoire of John Fournier tunes--including her signature "My Love Is Coming to Your Town to Kick Your Ass"--with Fournier himself at the piano. There are also numbers by the Barker Dames, a motley bunch of chorines whose charm owes a lot to the many shadings of cluelessness they display. The opening-night show had one very high high (suave vaudevillian David Kovac) as well as an awfully low low (F. Tyler Burnet, far too authentic as a stand-up who's "not good at stand-up"). Brownies were provided, but restaurateur Rick Bayless is scheduled to create "concoctions" for the December 4 and 11 shows, so there may be better snacks coming. --Tony Adler

Price: $10



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