The Invention Show | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Invention Show

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Director Mick Napier's heady new musical profiles inventors and inventions great, small, wonderful, odious, and otherwise. Ambling genially from infotainment to parodic "eureka!" re-creations to Lehrer-esque feats of elocution, it's Annoyance at its most Neo-Futuristic. The cast members wrote the scenes and songs (with musical director Lisa McQueen), and thanks to their assurance and smarts, the show's ruminative eclecticism becomes as much a strength as a weakness. Avoiding formula leads to loopily hilarious discoveries like Rich Sohn's prop-comic Leonardo da Vinci and a search for the superlative that preceded the invention of "sliced bread." Throw in a curtain-call visit from Eugene Polley, the spry 91-year-old coinventor of the TV remote, and you've got somewhat uneven at its offbeat best. --Brian Nemtusak a Open run: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Annoyance Theatre, 4840 N. Broadway, 773-561-4665, $15.

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