Palace of the Occult | Prop Thtr | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Palace of the Occult Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 20 2015

Con man and court-proven psychic, circus performer and Weimar A-lister, Jew and Nazi insider, Erik Jan Hanussen was a singularly fascinating conundrum, as actor and magician Neil Tobin struggles to make clear in his one-man show, presented by Eclectic Full Contact Theatre. It’s 1933, and a smarmy, beguiling, unaccountably self-effacing Hanussen welcomes us to the grand opening of his occult palace, a museum cum sideshow where he, curiously, tells his life story in protracted yet sketchy detail (he drops in a few magic tricks that, while not particularly difficult to figure out, add much-needed intrigue). Tobin’s an engaging, mannered performer with a gift for gracious audience interaction. But he’s well into act two before he finds the historical import of Hanussen’s story—making most of act one feel comparatively empty. —Justin Hayford

Price: $30-$35

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