This coproduction by Chicago's Court Theatre and Seattle's Intiman Theatre offers an appealing mix of gracefulness and vulgarity. Adapted from Moliere's 1671 comedy Les fourberies de Scapin by playwrights Shelley Berc and Andrei Belgrader and composer Rusty Magee, Scapin draws on the traditions of 17th-century commedia dell'arte, employing slapstick, song-and-dance episodes, and inventive improvisation. The plot is unabashedly silly: Scapin, a wily servant, conspires to help two pairs of young lovers marry despite the disapproval of stingy, sourpuss fathers. But Scapin's scheming is merely a springboard for hilarious episodes that have little to do with the plot and everything to do with showing off the actors' skills as comedians, singers, and dancers (the score ranges from gospel and rap to vaudeville, bluegrass, and even a few snatches of "Trouble" from The Music Man). Eclectic and exuberant, this extravaganza of clowning is a delightful exercise in pure escapism. Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green, Chicago, 312-327-2000. Through November 24: Wednesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 PM; Fridays, 8 PM; Saturdays, 3 and 8 PM; Sundays, 2:30 and 7:30 PM. $45-$55.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Brosilow.