Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-12-11
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER Dante Dies!! (and then things get weird)
by Scott C. Morgan
2008-06-18

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Walt McGough

At: Sideshow Theatre Company at

Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago

Phone: 773-583-4317; $15

Through July 13

A one-man show based upon Dante's Inferno? How seriously should we take a show that has Dante Dies!! ( and then things get weird ) for a title?

If ever there was a brand-new theater company brazenly flirting with failure, then Sideshow Theatre Company's debut show would be a likely candidate. If you're going to play around with a classic of Western Civilization, you'd better be damn-well talented and confident enough to pull it off ( especially with just one actor ) .

So drop any skepticism you have now because playwright Walt McGough and star Matt Fletcher pull off an amazing theatrical feat with Dante Dies!! As a funny, poignant examination of grieving, death and hellish bureaucracy, Dante Dies!! is both a silly and cerebral delight drawing from both the Orpheus myth and Dante's fictional journey into Hell to find his beloved Beatrice.

At first glance, things don't look too promising. Lisi Stoessel's set looks little more than the end product of a shopping spree at The Brown Elephant resale store.

And when Fletcher does his first characterization other than the bereaved Dante ( it's the poet Virgil dreamed up as a tough-guy New Yorker ) , you're not quite sure where he and McGough are going with their concept. But soon enough Fletcher's sheer abandon at elastically morphing from character to character wins you over.

Skinny and limber with more than a passing resemblance to Scottish actor David Tennant ( of Doctor Who fame ) , Fletcher is physically hilarious. Fletcher's comic timing in a strip tease ( where he fights off his own hands from removing his clothing ) is extremely amusing. Fletcher's mastery of dialects is also a wonder, featuring cheeky cockney guards, a southern professor and an Irish codger.

Fletcher's shape-shifting magic is aided and abetted by the show's technical crew. The weird and wonderful soundtrack dreamed up sound designer Ben Warner instantly transports you to the many circles of Hell Dante wades through. Kevin Cannon's ever-changing and colorful lighting design also helps to define the mood and characters who toy with Dante's despair on this very strange ride.

Fletcher also has the depth to inspire sympathy and fear with his characters as Dante descends further and further.

Though McGough's script could do with a nip and tuck in a few scenes ( particularly a dirty laundry-filled one examining the baggage we accumulate ) , Dante Dies!! is a load of thought-provoking fun. McGough matter-of-factly deals with mortality and the unknowns of an afterlife that have baffled and bedazzled all mankind.

So even with its odd title and gall to bite off more than most would chew, Dante Dies!! assuredly serves up a dazzling string of theatrical tricks. The fact that it appears so simple and seamless shows how these Sideshow Theatre artists are truly storytelling magicians.


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Joffrey Presents 'The Times Are Racing,' a mixed rep program 2019-12-13
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater includes Midwest premieres, Ailey classics 2019-12-12
Renee Fleming in rehearsal with Lyric Opera for The Light in the Piazza 2019-12-11
THEATER REVIEW A Xmas Cuento Remix­­ 2019-12-11
Critics' Picks 2019-12-11
Five Worth Finding: Gay spy movie, Santa Suite and more 2019-12-11
'Nat King Cole' holiday show Dec. 16-17 2019-12-10
10th anniversary of 'The Nutcracker' features gay dads 2019-12-10
THEATER REVIEW The Land of Forgotten Toys 2019-12-10
THEATER REVIEW The Tall Boy 2019-12-07
THEATER REVIEW Cold Town/Hotline: A Chicago Holiday Story 2019-12-07
THEATER REVIEW The White Plague 2019-12-07
About Face to run 'The Gulf' 2019-12-06
Chay Yew departing Victory Gardens Theater 2019-12-05
Hell in a Handbag Productions to hold annual "Hams4Hams" Holiday Fundraiser 2019-12-04
Black Ensemble Theater announces 44th Season 2019-12-03
Congo Square Theatre to present rare production of Day of Absence 2019-12-02
Jewish theater arts conference takes place 2019-12-02
Chicago drag production in Louisville Dec. 21 2019-12-01
'I Am Going to Die Alone...' through Dec. 6 2019-11-30
Study reveals impact of storefront theaters 2019-11-29
THEATER REVIEW The First Deep Breath 2019-11-26
OPERA REVIEW Don Giovanni 2019-11-26
THEATER REVIEW Lindiwe 2019-11-26
Critics' Picks 2019-11-26
THEATER REVIEW The Inheritance (Part One & Part Two) 2019-11-26
THEATER FEATURE Here come the sugarplum shows!Here come the sugarplum shows! 2019-11-26
PERFORMER OF THE WEEK Travis Fiero 2019-11-26
THEATER REVIEW The First Deep Breath 2019-11-24
THEATER REVIEW Waiting for Godot 2019-11-19
SHOWBIZ Megan Rapinoe, 'High School Musical,' Roxane Gay, 'Paris Is Burning' 2019-11-18
YEPP holds second annual 'Rise Up' event 2019-11-16
THEATER REVIEW Rutherford and Son 2019-11-16
Opera Review Don Giovanni 2019-11-15
THEATER SPOTLIGHT Always … Patsy Cline 2019-11-15
THEATER REVIEW Packing 2019-11-13
THEATER REVIEW Romeo and Juliet 2019-11-13
THEATER REVIEW P.Y.G. or The Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle 2019-11-13
Critics' Picks 2019-11-13
THEATER SPOTLIGHT Sombras Tango Cabaret 2019-11-13
 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.