The Passion of the Bush: An Election Play | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Passion of the Bush: An Election Play

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Guy Massey makes such a superb George W. Bush that the original could just stand aside and let Massey take over. In Theater Oobleck's sprawling political satire, shaped by the Odyssey, the 1960 film Spartacus, and passion plays, Massey re-creates W's slouch toward Washington. The piece--which is much smarter than its title--recounts how "five of the nine Supreme gods" favor Prince Dubius and help him fulfill his destiny. Half a dozen excellent performers play everyone our hero encounters. Diana Slickman, opening the show as Athena, has a dry wit that sets the tone; closing the show as flute-voiced Cokie Roberts, she also appears in the middle as the apostle Matthew cheerfully dispatching Dubius to his painful fate. As Rushius Limbix, Steve Walker channels Peter Ustinov brilliantly, and Connor Kalista--resplendent in blond wig and blue war paint--gives Mel hell. Chris Schoen's sound design makes bad country-western music simultaneously comic and ominous, and he also plays Pilate, Ditto, and Aflac, among other characters. But the key to the show's success is Massey, hips thrust forward, forehead wrinkled in puzzlement, bestriding the world like an idiot colossus. Through 10/31: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Then Mon 11/1, 8 PM. Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 773-347-1041. $10; "more if you've got it, free if you're broke."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Kristin Basta.

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