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Postmodern contortionist Mickle Maher and the spectacle junkies at Redmoon Theater join forces for this redreaming of Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari, the 1919 expressionist film that launched a thousand goth-rock ghost ships. Maher's lyrical writing is well suited to the material. A better fit with Redmoon's aesthetic is hardly imaginable. And longtime Maher collaborator Colm O'Reilly--black prince of Curious and Oobleck, whose trembling, portentous, static-shrouded voice is piped in from what seems a thousand miles away--is probably the perfect narrator. Yet somehow the show struggles not to be dull. Maybe it's that it's played exceptionally straight--there's precious little of Maher's morbid whimsy in evidence. But if things hit a high pitch only in the closing moments, the music and puppetry are excellent throughout, and Maher unearths his usual share of transfixing paradoxes along the way. A near miss. Through 5/8: Wed-Fri 8 PM, Sat 6 and 9 PM, Sun 3 PM. Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 312-850-8440, ext. 111. $20-$25.

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