The Jungle | Oracle Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Jungle Free The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Mondays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through April 25 2015

Upton Sinclair's 1906 muckraking novel isn't just a sobering exposé of abominable labor conditions in Chicago's meatpacking industry. It's also a hell of a narrative. Sinclair feeds young, optimistic immigrant worker Jurgis into the maw of unregulated industrial capitalism, unleashing havoc on him and his entire family. In director Matt Foss's somber, ardent, schematic adaptation for Oracle Theatre, by contrast, Jurgis's prototypical nemeses (the factory boss, the landlady, the real estate swindler) are transparently malevolent, making Sinclair's compellingly monstrous world border on melodrama. And the production's unflinching gloom makes it clear Jurgis is doomed from the start; while the show is full of visual, theatrical and musical ingenuity, it belabors the obvious for 100 minutes. As Jurgis, Travis Delgado wears an almost permanent mask of anguished nobility. —Justin Hayford

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