Math Curse | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Math Curse, Runamuck Productions, at A Red Orchid Theatre. Much of the humor I enjoyed in grade school I still find funny today. And as an ardent fan of Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book and the Bugs Bunny cartoon What's Opera, Doc? I feel qualified to recommend Runamuck's Math Curse as loopy, energetic entertainment for the grade-schooler in all of us.

Adapted and directed by Heath Corson from the book by Caldecott winners Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, Math Curse is a breathless piece about a petulant girl named Jamie, forced by the titular curse to view everything in the world as a vexing math problem. She's joined in her quest to conquer fractions by some classmates, including a binoculars-toting dweeb and a prim Goody Two-shoes, as well as a pair of aliens.

What's remarkable about Runamuck's production is not the story itself, though it's certainly diverting and creative enough despite a few groan-producing jokes. More impressive are Corson's seemingly effortless adaptation and zoomingly breakneck staging. Revealing an aptitude for pace and theatricality that might serve as a lesson to many of the city's adapters of more serious works, Corson has fashioned a highly entertaining hour with the energy of a Looney Tunes cartoon and the wit of an Electric Company episode. Though I'd give the production a CG-13 rating ("nobody over the age of 13 admitted without a child's supervision"), adults will find more than enough humor to make this a worthwhile afternoon.

--Adam Langer

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