Sign o' the Times | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Sign o' the Times

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Prince's concert film--deftly and seamlessly integrating live performances in Antwerp and Rotterdam last summer with thematically related interludes shot in his Minneapolis studio--starts fairly effectively and builds steadily from there. Leroy Bennett's lighting and production design and Peter Sinclair's cinematography both help to make this a rousing show, full of sound and fury and signifying plenty, but Prince remains the undisputed auteur. The rapid editing recalls the scattershot method of certain rock videos, but the cinematic and musical savvy with which this is done avoids the coitus interruptus of The Cotton Club: the overall spectacle is enhanced, not curtailed or compromised. Dancer Cat Glover and (especially) drummer Sheila E. shine in these razzle-dazzle surroundings; Dr. Fink (keyboards) and Atlanta Bliss (trumpet) play "Now's the Time" much too fast and still manage to swing; and Prince himself, passing through a spectrum of costumes and sexual roles, is never less than commanding, as performer, composer, and director. Songs include "Hot Thing," "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man," "The Cross," "If I Was Your Girlfriend," "Play in the Sunshine," "Forever in My Life," and the title tune; see this in Dolby if you can. (Forest Park, Oakbrook, Plaza, Ridge, River Oaks, Water Tower, Woods, Evergreen, Hyde Park)

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