Simple Jim and His Four Fabulous Friends | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Simple Jim and His Four Fabulous Friends

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

Lifeline Theatre's deceptively simple fable about a deceptively simple Forrest Gump type who undertakes a hero's journey and dramatically alters the lives of everyone around him has undergone a minor face-lift since its premiere almost three years ago. Pacing and flow have been subtly enhanced: the cast stay in character the entire time, for example, avoiding the expository time-outs that occasionally threw the original production off track. But Eric Lane Barnes's script remains impossibly smart: even when he's drawing upon complex archetypes from myths and fairy tales to chart his protagonist's spiritual awakening, his simple messages--about fellowship, humility, and staying true to one's beliefs--ring loud and clear. The play's greatest calling card, however, is its loose, billowy structure, meant to incorporate audience suggestions--a big draw for the kids. Rebecca Hamlin's terrific scenic design gives the illusion of perpetual motion and provides the perfect backdrop for the three cast members' generous, larger-than-life performances: together Vance Smith, Shole Milos, and Nancy Jane Nelson give this world a thousand different bold and brilliant hues. Storefront Theater, Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph, 312-742-8497. Through March 3: Saturdays-Sundays, 1 PM. $5.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Suzanne Plunkett.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment