The Adventures of Ginocchio | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Adventures of Ginocchio

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In this delightful all-ages entertainment, performers Hugo Suarez Flores and Ines Pasic combine a childlike absorption with their own bodies and the superb technique of two experienced artist-athletes. In a sometimes wacky, sometimes wistful program of wordless comedy vignettes, the pair reshape their body parts into highly individualized puppets--like kids often do, only with the physical skill and imagination of supremely gifted dancer-mimes. With the aid of a strap-on nose and a floppy costume, Hugo turns his knee into a bouncy, bald-headed street musician who strums a ukulele and beams with goofy pleasure at the audience's response; this is the Ginocchio of the title, whose name (recalling that of another well-known puppet-person) comes from the Italian word for knee. In another scene, Ines uses a prop nose and sock hat to transform her extended bare foot into a grouchy old gawker; the incredible flexibility of her foot and ankle turns a clever visual joke into an enchanting illusion as well as a probing examination of the link between "pure" movement and emotional expression. Hugo's from Peru, Ines from Bosnia-Herzegovina; touring as Teatro Hugo & Ines--and arriving here as the opening event in Performing Arts Chicago's promising new international theater series--the team combines mime, dance, puppetry, and clowning into a charming and often hilarious show that's truly perfect for all ages and cultures; not since the great Marceau in his heyday have I been so entranced by an evening of wordless wonderment. Athenaeum Annex Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 722-5463. Opens Tuesday, September 13, 7:30 PM. Through September 17: Thursday, 7:30 PM; Friday, 8 PM; Saturday, 2 and 8 PM. $20; $10 for children.

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

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