Storyteller | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader
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On opening night writer-performer Frank Farrell was several rehearsals shy of having memorized his 90-minute one-man play about Chicago native Walt Disney, being presented by Equity Library Theatre Chicago. The resulting evening-length effort to remember his lines precluded narrative coherence and any meaningful character development: Disney's famed charisma was replaced by Farrell's nebbishy charm. But I suspect that this vigorously researched script, even if perfectly delivered, would be featureless, an encyclopedic sprint through the first 46 years of the producer's life (why stop there?). Part of the problem is a lack of the personalizing detail that might turn a catalog of facts into a story. Another part is the play's setting--a press conference in Disney's office on the day Song of the South is to open--which invites sanitized spin rather than telling candor. A quasi-tragic surprise ending is too contrived to provide the missing gravitas. Through 6/4: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM. North Lakeside Cultural Center, 6219 N. Sheridan, 773-293-1358. $15.

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