The Basement Company | Nox Arca Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Basement Company The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 18 2017

Adam Harrell's dark comedy is luxuriantly derivative, pulling from precedents as seemingly diverse (but basically similar) as Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy, Stephen King's Misery, and the Saw movie franchise. But a game of name-that-allusion is the only fun it offers—especially in Madison Smith's flat-footed staging for Death & Pretzels. Basement posits a frustrated, nebbishy playwright named Howard who kidnaps three actors, imprisons them in his basement, and forces them to rehearse and perform his stupid little play. Harrell's script makes all the least interesting choices, and Smith's production fails to capitalize on the tiny opportunities it offers. And sloppy? Howard may be a fool, but it's important that we view him as a genuine threat. That impression is hard to maintain when, at one point, his security arrangements consist of bungee cords tied to a folding table. —Tony Adler

Price: $18

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