The Flight of the Butter Boy | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Flight of the Butter Boy


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The Flight of the Butter Boy, Fantod Theatre, at Breadline Theatre. Sondheim fans will recognize the forest in Guy J. Jackson's new play, populated as it is by peasants, beggars, witches, warlocks, ogres, and other fairy-tale figures, all of them lusty, noisy, and eager to explore gender issues, humanitarian values, and pathways to self-esteem. (Lest we miss the point, the wise fool here poses a riddle: What sinking ship does everybody want to board? A relation-ship, of course.) Chief among the forest's inhabitants is the bloodthirsty Mershant, who pursues the elusive Butter Boy--an enigmatic youth with the face of an angel and a vocabulary of seven sentences (though his every utterance is greeted by shrieks of laughter from the audience).

Jackson's thinly disguised two-and-a-half-hour sermon asks, Why can't we all just get along? The sprawling script's repetitious dialogue (the obsessed Mershant croons over and over, "Butter, Butter, Butter") and abbreviated editorials are couched in an ersatz gothic argot resembling that employed by the wait staff at Medieval Times. Speeches are delivered at Fantod Theatre's trademark parade-ground volume until either the subtext or the actor's fatigue requires a softening of tone. Director Kristin Larson and her inventive cast labor mightily to make Jackson's play interesting, but in the end they can't rescue a script so urgently in need of editing.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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