The Wonderful World of Dissocia

By Anthony Neilsonwonderful-world

Directed by Darrell W. Cox

At Profiles Theatre

Bizarre dark comedy is full of laughs and wonderment

In a departure from their gritty raw dramas, Profiles Theatre tackles Scottish playwright Anthony Neilson’s new dark comedy, The Wonderful World of Dissocia. This is a fantasia in the vane of Alice In Wonderland that takes Lisa (terrific work from Somer Benson) on a journey to find her lost hour that she believes is responsible for her present personal problems. Lisa proceeds to take a colorfully exciting and bizarre trip into the land of Dissocia peopled by zany characters.

From the scapegoat to the insecurity guards the inhabitants of Dissocia are funny, weird and brutal. Act one is a hilarious trip into the mind of a mentally ill woman. Eric Burgher, Jeremy Lee Cudd, Jessie Fisher, Joe Jahraus, Sarah Loveland, Bob Pries and Barb Stasiw work hard as they become the wacky folks of Dissocia. Thad Hallstein’s unique folding set and costume designer Ricky Lurie’s colorful outfits aptly capture the weird world of Dissocia. I’ve not seen finer use of Profiles’ intimate space than depicted for this show. This surreal trip features deft comedy, especially from Bob Pries as the goat and Joe Jahraus and Eric Burgher as the insecurity guards. Barb Stasiw’s Oath-taker was also a hoot! The journey has songs, dances and physical comedy aplenty. Lisa’s whirlwind journey finishes act one.

In act two, changes tone drastically as we see Lisa in a sterile mental hospital. The nurses continually get her to swallow pills to keep her near comatose. This drastic contrast demonstrates Neilson’s view that Lisa may indeed be better off having hallucinations than laying on a gurney all drugged up. Somer Benson conveys Lisa’s shifting mental state nicely. Director Darrell W. Cox has his ensemble going over the top to garner all the humor and absurdity possible. I liked this off-kilter dark comedy. The energy from the cast was infectious.

Recommended

Tom Williams

At Profiles Theatre, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL, call 773-549-1815, www.profilestheatre.org, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm, running time is 2 hours with intermission.