The One That Got Away, Para-Vida Theatre Company, at Famous Door Theatre Company. Earnestly dipping their toes into the teeming pool of Chicago theater, the two-member ParaVida company have written and choreographed and perform their own cabaret show. Carolina Hann and Julianne McKay play several characters, mostly struggling young artists and their allies or oppressors. As directed by William Corsello, the production aims for the high spirits of an I Love Lucy episode but misses the mark despite its clownish characterizations and cheerful goodwill.
The show's goofy sentimentality would work better if McKay and Hann used audience participation and campy humor more confidently to establish scenes and provide a comic downbeat to signal shifts in tone. Scenes and characters change too quickly, and the audience needs more guidance--one moment we're a coffeehouse crowd, the next a fly on the wall witnessing the awkward reconciliation of a mother and her daughter, and then we're subway riders traveling with two rent-a-singers, one in a farmer's outfit and the other a chicken suit. The One That Got Away is a brave debut but, on the whole, a bumpy ride.