Travesties | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Breathlessly, exhaustively clever, Tom Stoppard's 1974 play ingeniously (sometimes tediously) returns Lenin, James Joyce, and dadaist poet Tristan Tzara to 1917 Zurich. Layering absurdity over historical anecdote, Stoppard depicts these disparate pioneers as remembered by British mediocrity and accidental spectator Henry Carr, a consular flunky, and in the process has great fun with the mutations of memory: this is history as the product and prisoner of untrustworthy neural connections. Governed by Carr's addlepated recollections, the action becomes increasingly zany, playfully contrasting artistic and political revolutions: which last longer, and which change us more? But Stoppard's having too much fun to answer such questions. At nearly three hours, Charles Newell's breakneck, somewhat self-indulgent staging can be too much of a muchness. But Lance Stuart Baker is a delightful Bertie Wooster of a Henry Carr, and the wizard cast handle every topsy-turvy twist with aplomb. Through 4/24: Wed-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 2:30 and 7:30 PM. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis, 773-753-4472. $35-$50.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →