Tomorrowco | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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TOMORROWCO, WNEP Theater. Chicago's proliferation of office-humor outlets continues with this tale about a corporation that controls 93 percent of the world. An unstable but punchy mixture of broad and subtle comedy, it doesn't have much structure, and its characters are all strictly two-dimensional. But its take on the monoculture prevailing within megacompanies is offhandedly penetrating--and well supported by players who fairly throttle their roles.

The show revolves around a crude but funny sight gag: the costume worn by Nudeman, a naked Doug Henning look-alike who's champion of "the other 7 percent." Armed with nothing but the posthippie magician's weird touchy-feely mannerisms, a cartoonish snap-on member, and an only slightly less cartoonish clip-on tie, our "hero" clumsily infiltrates TomorrowCo in search of his long-lost sister Jean, whose brain contains the universal demographic profile guiding the company's growth. Along the way Nudeman battles a collection of managers, marketers, consultants, and motivational speakers bent mostly on hiring him--or at least getting him to put on some pants. Their twitchy portrayals are cunning enough to provide the perfect foil to his perpetual ridiculousness. It's difficult to say whether the less successful subplot, concerning some lame but self-important D&D gamers, is supposed to be an allegory of this "cultural elite" or its doomed opposition--either interpretation is possible.

As a whole, this is modest but palatable stuff, a little skimpy but successful on its own terms.

--Brian Nemtusak

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