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The Nature of Fatheads and Other Family Matters 101

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The nature of fatheads and other family matters 101, at the College of DuPage Arts Center. Let's face it, the topic of this one-man show--the hazards of growing up in America--is not particularly original. Nor are Tim Clue's observations about the late 60s and early 70s particularly startling. And he rarely strays from a Leave It to Beaver point of view: you mess around a lot as a kid, and that's sort of fun, only sometimes you get caught and then you get in trouble with dad. Which may account for the fact that the show feels a little long, even though it lasts only 90 minutes.

But Clue's approach is fresh: he uses autobiographical stories as part of a general lecture on that fathead species, the human race. And his stage persona, made up of equal parts stand-up and teacher (Clue is both), is relaxed and intensely likable. Even when he breaks the fourth wall to talk with audience members about their first pets or forces a hapless pair to join him onstage to cold read a scripted conversation between a father and a teenage son about the car keys, Clue is easygoing, never resorting to the hectoring that makes audience participation the bane of comedy clubs.

--Jack Helbig

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