The Venetian Twins | Piccolo Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Venetian Twins The Short List (Theater) Recommended Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through May 9 2015

Commedia dell'arte—a theatrical form that flourished in Renaissance Italy, with roots in ancient Roman comedy—is a forerunner of our modern burlesque and farce, so it's no surprise that this charming commedia-style production by Piccolo Theatre sometimes recalls the zany antics of the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello, and even the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. The plot concerns twin brothers (both played by the engaging Kurt Proepper)—one clever, the other foolish. Raised separately, they have never met, yet by coincidence they have both arrived in the same town at the same time to seek a bride. The result is a whirlwind of mistaken identities and double-crosses. Adapted by the ensemble from Carlo Goldoni's 1747 play, the show revels in classic commedia conventions: stock characters (fatuous lovers, sassy servants, pompous patriarchs), an exaggerated presentational performance style, grotesque and sometimes vulgar masks, slapstick physical humor, deft yet daffy swordplay, and audience participation. Joshua D. Allard's costumes meld Renaissance and contemporary design elements, and the 11-member cast provide musical accompaniment and zany and rude sound effects from the sidelines when they're not onstage. —Albert Williams

Price: $27

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