The Firebug | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Being Swiss and a writer, Max Frisch naturally took as his subject bourgeois complacency, hypocrisy, and self-delusion. Hence this 1953 satire about Gottlieb Biedermann, a successful businessman so complacent, hypocritical, and self-deluding even the Swiss might find him unsettling. The Firebugs is a sly, cool, relentlessly subversive thing, largely because it doesn't stop at beating the burghers--it takes its critique all the way to hell. National Pastime Theater and Clock Productions fail the material. Director Laurence Bryan supplies rock music and video when what he needs is a decent Biedermann. Jack McCabe has nothing but the right look for the role. Arch Harmon and Mark Habert are often fun to watch as the title characters, but lacking a solid opposite, go nowhere. Through 8/13: Fri 8 PM, Sat 4 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, National Pastime Theater, 4139 N. Broadway, 773-327-7077, $10-$20.

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