Conceived by Adrian Danzig
Directed by Paola Coletto
At Vittum Theater, Chicago
Worth seeing with or without kiddies in tow
On the one hand, I regretted not taking grandchildren to see this – the very first time 500 Clown has taken its splendid cavorting to a youthful audience. On the other hand, it was a marvelous opportunity to just sit back and enjoy the whole experience unencumbered.
And what an experience it was – introduced by a set of three questions addressed to the young audience before the action started.
How might you define the word trapped?
How do you feel when you are trapped?”
What sounds might you make when trapped?
Initially, the three clowns – who had red ears rather than bulbous red noses – appeared anything but confined as they bounced around, over seats, down the aisles, warming up the audience with action packed improv before they gathered drums and cymbals for a cacophony of sound.
They marched through the theater and towards the stage — and what a unique stage it was. Initially, I thought it might be a huge trampoline. Nope. It was a huge raised platform filled with shredded paper in which they ultimately vanished, reemerged, and then were imprisoned behind large vertical bars.
Definitely trapped, they spent the next hour in a variety of escapist techniques including burrowing into the set, clambering up the bars, and then creating imaginary air, land and sea transportation – all fascinatingly mimed by the three: Adrian Demos, Tim Heck and Leah Urzendowski. What a superb and charming acrobatic trio as they played off against each other. And what energy they displayed. It was impossible to guess what would happen next.
The play ends with a cliffhanger – much to the surprise and delight of the audience — and that served as an impetus for the follow-up chat with the cast. No one wanted to leave.
The dynamic performance was enjoyed by all – young, old, with or without kiddies in tow.
Collaboration between 500 Clown and Adventure Stage Chicago, at Vittum Theater, 1012 North Noble Street, Tickets are $12-$20, runs Fridays, 7 p.m., Saturdays 2 and 7 p.m., and at 10:30 a.m. May 11, 17 and 19, through May 21, call 773-342-4141 or visit www.adventurestage.org. Run time 70 minutes.