The Pirates of Penzance | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Pirates of Penzance

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Circle Theatre.

Is there no end to the timidity of Chicago theaters? I didn't think shows could get any more toothless or irrelevant. Then Circle Theatre came along with its sweet, charming, but ultimately trivial production of this Gilbert and Sullivan chestnut. (In a non-Equity storefront theater yet!) I suppose that given the current Kulturkampf, Gilbert and Sullivan--with their ever-so-gentle jabs at Victorian society and their beloved, controlling, uptight queen--may soon be as close as we can get to real political satire.

Which is not to say anything's wrong with this production. It's easily the best executed show I've seen at Circle. There isn't a weak link in the ensemble, and all of the main roles are performed with considerable grace. The romantic leads, Thomas Koetz and Linda Murphy, even have singing voices to die for.

Still, I found myself yearning for theater that does more than aim low and hit the target. Where are those flawed but ambitious shows that try to say something about life in America today?

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