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EXTENDED Thru Aug 25 "Big Lake Big City" (Lookingglass Theatre): Big Fun Big Chicago

EXTENDED Thru Aug 25 "Big Lake Big City" (Lookingglass Theatre): Big Fun Big Chicago

Lookingglass Theatre presents the World Premiere of BIG LAKE BIG CITY.

From the startling entrance of Philip R. Smith (Bass), the audience knows this isn’t a typical theatrical experience.  It’s like in the movies but on stage.  There’s even a car chase.  Playwright Keith Huff’s new modern noir is a smart, witty whodunit.  Huff infuses comedy into his drama for an “L.A. Confidential” meets “Police Academy” concoction.

Under the well-paced direction of David Schwimmer, the show captivates with intrigue and comedy.  Huff writes in some over-the-top absurdities like a scene about a doctor playing golf in the morgue. It could be too much but Schwimmer finesses it for a “Pulp Fiction” style humor.  Later, Huff has two people hook up after an argument.  The cliched affair might be corny.  Instead, Schwimmer heightens the humor to expose the lampoon.  Huff’s characters are a band of quirky misfits.  Schwimmer’s ensemble is a bunch of eclectic and talented actors. It all works for a Chicago style romp.

In the lead, Smith plays a Chicago cop with coarse lucidity.  A raging Smith is outstanding delivering both the drama and comedy... sometimes at the same time.  In one scene, he points out that a dead character is actually an actor playing multiple roles.  He never loses his edginess adding to the hilarity of the situation.  His partner, Danny Goldring (Getz), gets some of the biggest laughs by nailing the punchline.  A crotchety Goldring even admits to quoting “Law and Order.”  It’s just another moment Huff’s play pokes fun of real life mimicking television and movies mimicking real life. Funny stuff! Another noteworthy performance is Eddie Martinez (Stewart).  And it’s not just because he has a screwdriver stuck in his head. The charming Martinez transforms from punk to self actualization with whimsical poignancy.

This show is a lot to look at and laugh at from beginning to end and from top to bottom.  Scenic Designer Sibyl Wickersheimer effectively uses the space to take us from police station to luxury condo to scaffolding to seedy motel to ferris wheel.  Her imaginative design elements transition quickly to keep this ride moving.  Properties Designer Maria DeFabo adds to the aesthetic with some gruesome morgue meat and an impressive ferris wheel cart.

Summer is the time for movie blockbusters.  Playful entertainment that makes us laugh and provides an engaging outlet for a couple hours.  BIG LAKE BIG CITY is Big Fun Big Chicago!  It’s like Chicago in the movies but better.

Running Time:  Two hours and fifteen minutes includes an intermission

At Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Avenue

Written by Keith Huff

Directed by David Schwimmer

Tuesdays at 7:30pm (July 2, 16, 30 only)

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays at 7:30pm

Thursdays at 3pm (July 11, 25 and August 8 only)

Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm

EXTENDED Thru August 25th

Buy Tickets www.lookingglasstheatre.org

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