Small Together | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Small Together

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SMALL TOGETHER, Curious Theatre Branch, at the Lunar Cabaret. Like a pointillistic painting, Bryn Magnus's apocalyptic comedy makes more sense once you step back from it. With distance and contemplation, the seemingly disparate elements fuse to form a compelling if not always coherent whole. Part Faustian allegory, part anticorporate screed, and part critique of the American family unit, the work concerns a trio of misfits united by their love and worship of one woman--the saintly Rose, who's bargaining with satanic bank president Jason Garnett Futh to prevent foreclosure on their home.

Awaiting Rose's return in their beleaguered fortress are the impotent intellectual Buttlefelt, the thwarted romantic Sophie, and the idiot savant Sergio. Battling invisible marauders, they decry their insignificance in the face of a commercialized society overrun by brand names and corporations--a struggle very like that by the Curious Theatre Branch itself, a lone idiosyncratic voice amid the din of corporatized and commodified art.

Exploding with giddy wordplay and inventive satire, Small Together is a refreshingly pretentious and complex play; the wittily understated Jenny Magnus as Rose and hilarious, bug-eyed Beau O'Reilly as Futh deliver excellent performances. Yet it seems very much a work in progress. Static, overwritten in spots, and tentatively performed at times, this promising play begs for an editor and director other than Magnus, someone to trim some of the excesses of the gleeful prose and structure it into the potent satire it could become.

--Adam Langer

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