The Chorus Rebellion | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Chorus Rebellion

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THE CHORUS REBELLION, Breadline Theatre Group. Paul Kampf's 1999 parody of Greek tragedy suggested the irreverent anarchy of classical lit students on a postfinals spree. Recent improvements in Breadline Theatre's facilities make this newly revised production more appealing and commercially viable, as if the same rambunctious scholars were now staging their own version of Forbidden Broadway. The premise is unchanged: a troupe of bored actors, led by two disgruntled chorus members, play fast and loose with their script despite the playwright's protests. Among the liberties they take are a transvestite Achilles (a charming Michael Rashid), a dominatrix Medea, a score featuring distinctly post-Hellenic tunes, and intricate dance and slapstick (courtesy of choreographer Simone Kawalsky). And that's before the Mount Olympus critics get into the act.

Those unversed in the theatrical conventions of 400 BC may not appreciate some of the more arcane humor, but the show's spectacle and lively pace keep us amused even when we lose the thread of the plot. Stay in your seats at the beginning of intermission or risk missing Brad Lawrence's hilarious silent turn as a character flat on his back, arms immobilized by a bolt from the blue, struggling to get to his feet for his exit.

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