The King of Hearts | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The King of Hearts

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Director-adapter Tonika Todorova and her self-conscious cast have managed to obfuscate the crystalline narrative in Philippe de Broca's spritely antiwar fable. His 1966 cult film features Alan Bates as a British ornithologist, Charles Plumpick, mistakenly sent into a French town during World War I to defuse a massive bomb hidden there by the Germans. The only villagers who haven't fled are the freed inhabitants of the local asylum, whose gay costumes and mad ways seem a life-affirming tonic in the face of war. Todorova inexplicably jettisons much of the story in favor of decontextualized "mad scenes," which are nearly incomprehensible if you haven't seen the film, especially given the Journeymen's uneven performances. This Plumpick does little but look anxious and ask everyone repeatedly if they've seen a bomb--although no one else speaks English. It's difficult to cheer for an idiot. Through 6/4: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM. Berger Park Cultural Center, 6205 N. Sheridan, 773-857-5395. $10-$15.

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