Sibling Revelry | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Sibling Revelry

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Sibling Revelry, Tellin' Tales Theatre, at Prop Thtr, through June 23. As anyone with a brother or sister can attest, there's a very thin line for siblings between love and hate. And the four monologues in "Sibling Revelry" celebrate all such petty frustration, awkwardness, and irreconcilable differences. Still, these writer-performers always swing back to the "love" end of the spectrum.

Diane Dorsey in My Sister's Song and Tekki Lomnicki in Wally are simply content to tell a good story: Dorsey considers how the aging process has affected her relationship with her disabled sister while Lomnicki digs deep into the psyche of her coarse younger brother. Julie Caffey's Underwater Football uses the biblical story of Jonah and the whale as a metaphor for her father's fall from grace, which she and her brother must confront after their parents' divorce. But every minute Caffey spends with her face submerged in a bowl of water or dallying with the multimedia elements of her piece obscures her dark sense of humor. Judith Harding's raucous Tales From the Chalice probably fares best: she spends less time on simple portraiture than on exploring the essence of her older brother's religious neuroses.

There's a wealth of terrific raw material in "Sibling Revelry" crying out for sharper focus. All the performers know how to spin a yarn even if none ultimately locates the middle ground between straightforward storytelling and wide-ranging abstraction.

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