Mark Twain Tonight | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Mark Twain Tonight

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Reports of Mark Twain's death are greatly exaggerated--or so you might think after seeing Hal Holbrook's brilliant re-creation of America's greatest humorist. Holbrook introduced his Twain impersonation in 1954, honing the act in nightclub and college appearances before taking it to Broadway and TV. Now near 80, Holbrook still tours regularly (he was here last in 1999), giving new generations a taste of his amazing portrayal of the elderly, acerbic, cigar-chomping raconteur. Dressed in an ice-cream suit and speaking in a quavery croak with a thick "Missoura" accent, Holbrook's Twain is at once hilarious and rueful as he ruminates on the foibles of human nature. Classic Twain zingers are juxtaposed with material from the masterpiece Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; even funnier than the lines themselves is Holbrook's leisurely yet razor-sharp delivery. Paramount Arts Centre, 23 E. Galena, Aurora, 630-896-6666. Sunday, February 29, 6 PM. $25.50-$40.50.

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