Wild Men! | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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"We're wild men, wacky wild men / And we know how to have fun / We're the stuff of ancient myth / We'd be fun to party with," sing the heroes of this deliciously nutty comedy. And they are. Peter Burns, Mark Nutter, Rob Riley, and Tom Wolfe's musical about four stressed-out guys who enroll In a "wildman weekend" to get in touch with their primal selves is possibly the funniest show of the year. But its pointed humor doesn't come at the expense of insight; eschewing cheap-shot stereotypes about the men's movement, the piece instead mines laughter from the realities that the movement's philosophers aim at (and its charlatans exploit)--everything from father/son alienation, alcoholism, sexual addiction, and castration complexes to the soul-stifling antispirituality of contemporary culture. Each subject is treated with the oddball hilarity that marked the best work of Friends of the Zoo, the brilliant improv group whose main brains are responsible for this production. The long-running show has recently added two new leads--Peter Siragusa, hilarious as a badass boor transformed by a near-death experience, and John Mohrlein, a master of clownish eccentricity, as the deteriorating would-be guru--and they meld beautifully with original cast members David Lewman, Joe Liss, and Peter Burns. At the Body Politic Theatre, 2261 N. Lincoln, 871-3000. Through January 3: Wednesdays-Fridays, 7:30 PM; Saturdays, 5:30 and 9 PM: Sundays, 7 PM. Special Christmas week schedule through December 27: Wednesday, 7:30 PM; Saturday, 6:30 and 9 PM; Sunday, 7 PM. Special New Year's week schedule December 28 through January 3: Monday-Wednesday, 7:30 PM; Thursday, 6:30 and 9:30 PM (late show includes champagne toast); Saturday, 5:30 and 9 PM; Sunday, 7 PM. $19.50-$25.50; New Year's Eve shows, $35.

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

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