The City & the City | Lifeline Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The City & the City Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 7 2013

If you liked Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union and Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, then there's an excellent chance that China Mieville's The City and the City will appeal to you, too. A police procedural with satirical weird-fiction proclivities, Mieville's 2010 novel posits two eastern European city-states, Beszel and Ul Qoma, that literally overlap. To maintain their metaterritorial integrity, the citizens of each entity have been trained and terrorized into "unseeing" their neighbors. A person on the other side of the mental border just isn't there, even if she's standing right in front of you. It's a brilliant, funny, resonant conceit, and I can imagine what a seductive challenge it was for Christopher Walsh, who's adapted the novel, and Dorothy Milne, who's directed this world-premiere production for Lifeline Theatre. Milne's done an ingenious job of realizing Walsh's script, but the show fails anyway: the Beszel/Ul Quoma mindfuck is so complex that it demands either loads of confusing talk or a surpassingly elegant visual solution. Too often Walsh and Milne give in to the confusing talk. Still, this is one of the best failures you're likely to see. —Tony Adler

Price: $20-$40


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