SUPERNATURAL CHICAGO, at Excalibur. Necromancer Neil Tobin shares some well-known stories of Chicago's spirit life in this one-man show, performed in the narrow attic of the reputedly haunted nightclub Excalibur. Adopting a simple lecture format complete with illustrations on easels, Tobin tells tales of the city's famous undead: the Italian Bride, Resurrection Mary, Al Capone and his afterlife demons, the Cubs' curse of the billy goat, to name a few. Tobin also invites skeptical audience members to "interact" with the ghosts using card, coin, and mind tricks.
While aficionados of Chicago hauntings will find this show old dead hat, it could be a great experience for out-of-towners and uninitiated residents--what a thrill to sip a cocktail knowing that the bluish form of an early Chicago settler might be waiting around the corner to relight some extinguished candles or cut a ghostly rug. Still, Tobin could use some old-fashioned showmanship. Though his performance is just over an hour, the Rod Serling delivery wears thin--it feels like he should have a flashlight poised under his chin. And the lack of visual and aural pizzazz gives the audience little to focus on but the thickness of the air and the hardness of the chairs (go for the comfy couches).