The only disappointing part of this hour-long show is hearing the words "the end." Barrel of Monkeys--a high-energy troupe of adults--adapts short, often absurd stories written by Chicago Public School students for the stage. The songs and sketches are inventive and enthusiastically presented, and the company members draw on a wide range of performance styles. Every sketch is enhanced by Jonathan Mastro's music direction, and even after four years as director, Halena Kays keeps finding creative ways to showcase her ensemble members' talents. These are some of the funniest nonfamous people in the city, and every time I see them they exceed my expectations, retaining their full-throttle charm and vibrancy while pushing themselves even further--here with a brilliant new foray into short film. Storefront Theater, Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph, 312-742-8497. Through November 30: Thursdays-Fridays, 7:30 PM; Saturdays, 4 and 7:30 PM; Sundays, 2 PM. $12; $10 for children. Also Tuesday, November 12, 8 PM. $25 (includes 6:30 PM reception).
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tom Arvetis.