The Monkey House | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Monkey House

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In these adaptations of the stories in Kurt Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkey House, writer-director Lauren Ludwig and the young, low-budget SpringLoaded Theatre Company have succeeded where larger, richer groups--like Steppenwolf--have failed. It turns out that the secret to transferring Vonnegut's dark, wry wit to the stage is to focus tightly on his words: the nine-member ensemble calmly and skillfully releases the comedy in every sly quip, pointed observation, and irony-laden description without ever lunging for the punch line or hammering home a political message. This approach makes all of Vonnegut's stories soar, his quiet pieces and brassy satires alike. Ludwig's treatment of the comic romance "Long Walk to Forever," about a soldier who goes AWOL to see a girl, is particularly rich. Through 11/20: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Riverfront Works Lofts, 2174 S. Lumber, 773-525-5050. $10-$15.

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