Sad Songs for Bad People | Neo-Futurarium | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Sad Songs for Bad People The Short List (Theater) Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through Dec. 12 2015

A little late for Halloween, Rough House Puppet Theater offers an evening for those who, as a cast member put it, like to “wave across the river Styx from the safety of the bank.” The show is often brutish in execution and certainly brief at little more than an hour, even with guest artists supplying opening acts. (The night I attended, Molly Brennan and the formidably impish Malic White presented a tease for their upcoming Pop Waits.) But it’s never really nasty as it puppetizes nine songs ranging from Dolly Parton’s kitschy “Me and Little Andy” (“patty cake and bakersman, my mommy ran away again”) to Nick Cave’s psychotic “Milhaven” (“I got a pretty little mouth underneath all the foam”). The tone hovers at goofish fun despite an ineffective dramatic device. The high point is a cantastoria-style retelling of the cowboy ballad “Step It Out Nancy.” —Tony Adler

Price: $15


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