“Do you want to work with a machine where you don’t have to think?” This is the question posed to Mr. Zero, who has been working for 25 years adding numbers. He has grown tired of his work, his wife, and his life. Today, he hopes to be promoted to the front office. The meeting with his boss doesn’t go as expected and major changes are in store for him. Or, perhaps things will stay the same for him. He may not have the nerve to break out of the cycle of being a slave to the system.
[Warning: Small Spoilers in the Next Paragraph]
Mr. Zero dies and goes to purgatory. He finds the girl whom he worked with and always longed for. She killed herself because without him, she had nothing to live for. However, he doesn’t want to stay with her in purgatory. In her disappointment, she says “I’d rather be alive!” This received the biggest laugh of the night. Even though the story is mostly dark, there are a few great funny moments.
The production of the performance is fantastic. The opening scene is a whirlwind of choreography, lights, and music showing the repetitive nature of Mr. Zero’s life. Patrick Du Laney as Mr. Zero expertly shows the effect of his life slowly draining him out. The audience hopes for a better life for him, but it doesn’t seem very likely. The Hypocrites have again shown they are world class theatre that consistently puts on fully engrossing productions.
Don’t miss Adding Machine: A Musical at the Den Theatre through May 15th!
Preview the show here.
Photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis
To begin the play, an audience member is invited on stage to flip a coin. The stage manager says the result, “tails”, will influence the actions of the play. Every time we hear a short tone, it means the coin flip affected that moment. This setup leads to some very interesting existential ideas presented in the second act.
With the main story being about a young woman, Waverly, worrying that her sister was killed in the 9/11 attacks, comedy is unexpected. However, overall, it is fair to call this performance a comedy. This is possible because the attacks aren’t actually recent. As the saying goes, tragedy plus time equals comedy.
What really makes the performance enjoyable are the characters. Laura Berner Taylor as Waverly is delightful as she shows great range from very happy to incredibly sad. Matthew Nerber as Andrew is awkwardly charming. It’s a pleasure watching him light up as he discusses some of his favorite books. Rachel Christianson has the difficult task of playing Joyce, who is a puppet. She does such a great job that the oddness of a puppet quickly dissipates. Maximillian Lapine as Ron steals many scenes as the charmingly goofy next door neighbor. Everyone wanted him to be their friend by the end of the show. And to top it off, they all feed off each other superbly resulting in a fantastic performance.
Don’t miss one of this year’s best shows and see Recent Tragic Events at Athenaeum Theatre through April 10th!
Daughter, an indie band from England, is known for their melancholy lyrics on heartbreak and loss. This, combined with frontwoman Elena Tonra’s captivating (and, oftentimes, haunting) voice, makes it hard to look away. Daughter made a big impact in the indie music scene after the release of their first album, If You Leave. With the release of Not to Disappear in January 2016 and the chilling performances they’re delivering on their tour, Daughter is destined to make even bigger waves this year.
On March 11th, Daughter played a sold-out show at The Metro, to long-time fans that clung to every word, even singing along, despite their most recent album being released only two months prior.
“This is about as lively as we’ll get tonight,” Elena laughed as the band dove into “Home”, a song off their 2012 EP Wild Youth. She wasn’t wrong; Daughter is not known for being upbeat, but nobody in the crowd seemed to mind. The energy was high the whole time, so much so that even the band members themselves seemed surprised. The fans, however, were not. Elena’s voice is even better in person, and when accompanied by strong drum and bass rhythms, it isn’t hard to get a bit lost in the moment.
Susan Monroe has been beaten and left for dead. Ray and Richard were the last ones to see her. Ray called an ambulance and left before they arrived. She is now laying in the hospital, unable to speak. Ray says it was a Catholic guy named Michael who did this to her. Richard, who is mentally challenged, gives inconsistent stories. In one he blames Michael, and in the other he blames Ray.
The acting is excellent as we are drawn into the characters’ lives. We are at the edge of our seats as the intense drama builds and the stakes gets raised. What really happened? Who can be trusted? Or, more importantly, who will take the blame? Find out now at Irish Theatre of Chicago’s In A Little World of Our Own at The Den Theatre through April 10th.
Ride is the story of a small bicycle shop in Uptown and what happens after the owner is killed while biking. The owner’s brother (Danny) and sister come to the store after the funeral with the intention to sell the place immediately. The mechanic (Quill) claims to own 50% of the shop and she convinces Danny to accept a bet. If he can beat the sales from the last quarter, he can have the store. Otherwise, she takes over as full owner.
Danny transforms from a stodgy corporate architect to an urban biker while working at the store. In the funniest scene, he enters the shop in a fuss. He was biking along the same road as a pickup truck who intentionally kept driving too close to the parked cars for him to pass easily on the right. He would pass the truck at each stoplight on the left and then get passed again shortly after. Quill asks what color the truck was. “Red”. “There’s a red truck out front now. The driver looks angry, and he has a gun!” Quickly, the brother dives behind the counter. Quill busts out laughing. Nobody is out front!
What will happen to the bike shop? Will bikers gain respect from motorists on the road? Find out now at the Den Theatre through April 3rd.
This comedy show takes place in a private room in the back of Timothy O’Toole’s Pub. Upon arrival, you will be guided to open seats by one of the people working the show. All the TVs are turned off and the full focus of the crowd is on the small stage which features a neon sign that reads Comedians You Should Know. The lights go off, the music comes on, and the host takes the stage. This pre-show efficiency quickly reveals this is a well-run show.
Marty DeRosa is the host and gets the show off to a great start. He shows off his great crowd skills by talking to an audience member about his Pokemon blog. Yes, this is just as ridiculous as it sounds. Also, he cannot stress this enough, “the bathrooms are at the back on the right.”
Conor Delehanty’s comedy is extremely alternative. “Who here is poor?” The crowd is silent. It is quite obvious that his act would get much more response in Logan Square than in the Magnificent Mile neighborhood.
Marz Timms ponders what would happen if there was a black people day in the style of St. Patrick’s Day. He concludes it would be too crazy to handle and that’s why they spread it out to Black History Month.
Kristen Toomey’s comedy is brash and in your face. Her performance makes the front row uncomfortable while simultaneously making the whole room laugh.
The show is well worth the $5 in advance / $10 at the door. Catch Comedians You Should Know every Wednesday at 9pm!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
The 1975’s second album, I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, released February 26th, landed a number one spot on Billboard’s Top 200 list even without being released on Spotify. (But don’t worry—you can start streaming the album on March 11th!) Fun fact: this is the longest album title to sit at number one. It took three years for the band to release their second album, but after one listen it’s clear it was worth the wait. In contrast to their self-titled first album, I like it when you sleep embraces a…well, pinker sound, with upbeat tracks like Love Me, UGH!, and She’s American. Still, the album doesn’t lose sight of The 1975’s signature edgy lyrics and dark twists. Only a few bands could keep you reeled in with a three minute instrumental called Please Be Naked, but the band knows exactly what they’re good at—and they keep doing it.
Kendrick Lamar surprised the world last week with an album comprised of unreleased tracks from To Pimp a Butterfly’s production. untitled unmastered, released on March 4th, is thirty-five minutes of everything you didn’t know was missing from Lamar’s 2015 album. It has the same political drive that made Butterfly the raw, iconic album that it is, but touches of jazz and funk makes untitled unmastered a fresh extension of what Lamar was getting at with Butterfly.
George Martin, producer for The Beatles, died on March 9th at 90 years old.
The Life of Pablo still isn’t complete—Kanye West announced on Twitter that he has not yet released the finished product.
A$AP Rocky is hosting The 2016 MTV Woodies on Wednesday, March 16th. Musical performances by: CHVRCHES, A$AP Ferg, The Chainsmokers, Travis Scott, Kehlani, and BØRNS.
Zayn Malik released the tracklist for his debut solo album, Mind of Mine. The hype is real.
Take It Or Leave It is a sketch comedy show at iO. The setups for the following setups made these sketches the best of the night.
Two employees are setting up in the morning preparing for the day. “I just love Mondays. I’m so glad to be back at work!” “I agree. I can’t wait to see who comes in today. I’m hoping to make a new best friend!” A customer enters and in unison they greet her with “Welcome to the DMV!” The audience cracks up as this is clearly not what was expected. The laughs continue as they try to befriend the customer who is clearly not looking to make friends.
A couple is on a first date. The guy says that he brought “Buddy” along too. “Oh, is that your dog?” “Not exactly. Let me grab him.” He then goes and gets his ventriloquist doll. The crowd laughs as it’s a full grown man in a doll costume. She is at first taken aback but then she enjoys talking to the doll. Perhaps she now prefers the doll to the guy!
Catch the final performance this Sunday!
Our goal is to avoid nuclear war and achieve world peace. The engineering team must complete 20 tests in 20 minutes. These tests include flipping switches, pushing buttons, rearranging cords, and other tasks on a giant control wall. It’s very similar to the game Spaceteam in that you must shout technobabble to each other quickly. The hardest part of this task is that all 20 tests must be done in about one 1 minute. Only 2 two teams out of 69 have completed this task to date.
Another puzzle involves converting clock times to letters which spell out another instruction. Once this instruction is completed, a door opens to reveal another task. It’s a very exciting and challenging adventure with a burst of adrenaline each time a task is completed. Tonight’s team was well suited for the adventure with a great mix of leaders and followers. World Peace was achieved for only the 14th time out of 69 attempts. Smiles were on everyone’s faces as we cheered our outstanding victory. In the game, each person only sees about 25% of the puzzles. Thus, we all hope to return soon to attempt all the other tasks.
Sign up for a mission now through April 23rd at the Chopin Theatre!
42nd Street is the behind the scenes story of Peggy Sawyer who comes to New York to audition for Pretty Lady in the 1930’s. The show is full of glamorous costumes from the era that fill the stage with color and sparkle. The live musicians in the pit are a fun character in the show and the topic of a few of the best jokes. The dancing is spectacular, especially when the entire company tap dances at the same time on the stage wide staircase. The song “Dames” in the middle of the show sums up one the appeals: “What do you go for, go see a show for? Tell the truth, you go to see those beautiful dames.” See the grand spectacle of 42nd St at the beautiful Cadillac Palace Theatre through March 20th.