Seducing the Audience | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Seducing the Audience

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Seducing the Audience, CarniKid Productions, at Frankie J's MethaDome Theatre. If you've seen the recurring Saturday Night Live sketch "The Continental"--in which Christopher Walken plays a smooth-talking lothario who speaks directly to the camera--then you've got the gist of Dan Carr's "slightly more than one-man show." Sitting at a restaurant table center stage, Carr treats the audience as his date, leaking uncomfortable information about himself and occasionally engaging his imaginary companion. His swinging persona is ingratiating but remarkably uninformed: though he claims to be "really into the Russian authors of the 19th century," he later confesses his ignorance of Dostoyevsky. Romance is fleeting, if not entirely absent; phone calls from disgruntled ex-lovers and testy exchanges with an increasingly annoyed waiter speed the show to its foregone conclusion.

Carr has taken great pains to generate a self-contained environment in Seducing the Audience: the program lovingly skewers the Frankie J's restaurant menu, and the waiter who serves him also ushers audience members to their seats. Carr breaks the fourth wall once by posing for a picture with a few audience members, an unfortunate move that interrupts the show's slowly building momentum. And his character is irritating, exhibiting the sort of nervous tics that spell doom to any romantic encounter. But the effect is indelible: Carr's magnetic performance ensures the success of his banal character.

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