One Monkey Don't Stop No Show | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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One Monkey Don't Stop No Show

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One Monkey Don't Stop No Show, ETA Creative Arts Foundation. Playwright Don Evans has a canny ear for humor of the "too true" variety. The characters in this vibrant comedy are instantly recognizable and their foibles easy to relate to. Those too young to appreciate the problems facing a randy middle-aged preacher and his prim social-climbing wife with a problem pronouncing the cultured words she keeps using might enjoy instead the anxiety of their awkward son, who's only just discovered sex but might already be a father in the making. Tracey Offett in the role of his girlfriend has an audacity matched only by Makeba Pace as straight-talking seductress Mozelle.

This is a true ensemble piece jam-packed with juicy scenes for every character, but the focus is on a burgeoning relationship between the swaggering Caleb Johnson and his newly arrived ward, Beverly: Caleb was expecting a little girl, but Beverly is a young woman who knows what she wants and plans to get it. Unfortunately, this essential relationship is seriously underdeveloped, and the duo's attitudes toward each other change so rapidly and inexplicably it's as if scenes were missing.

Runako Jahi's swift, frothy staging and enthusiastic cast bring a bright sense of fun to the production. But unfortunately the many hilarious scenes in this genuinely amusing play seem to impede deeper character development.

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