Work sucks. CTA sucks. Cubs suck. The only thing you are looking forward to in August is the end of it. What do you do until Labor Day weekend? All you want is an escape from the heated drama that is your life. You need to laugh… hard! Well, I’ve got just the ticket…
The Factory Theatre presents, as part of its 20th Anniversary Season, the remount of REN FAIRE! A FISTFUL OF DUCATS. The Renaissance Faire is struggling. They lost a man. He left them for the neighboring western show. Now, they only have 1/2 a dueling act. To make matters worse, their jester duo is doing “Steel Magnolia” scenes. The roast beef wench is doing ‘shroom tea. And Henry the VIII is doing all his queens in rotation. Across the street, owner Bill Pickens is wrangling to vanquish the bard tightwearers. Pickens is ready to show the Middle Ages how the west was won. REN FAIRE! A FISTFUL OF DUCATS is a medieval-western smackdown!
Playwright Matt Engle takes a clever premise to absurdity. What keeps this from just being a blown out SNL skit is Engle’s development of the characters. It’s a huge cast and everybody has varying degrees of backstory. Under the direction of Curtis Williams, the caricatures are exploited for big-time bawdy buffoonery. There is strong ensemble work from the entire comedic cast. The energy is high showmanship in the American vs Ye-ole-England parody. Some of the tapestry-clad crew particularly know how to *hold court.* With well-timed finger smelling, Scott Oken (Henry 8) is hilariously raunchy. Oken plays philander confidently crude. Lovesick Sarah Rose Graber (Emma) evokes unexpected bursts of giggling. At one point an uptight Graber *spreads them* to zing the joke. Hysterical! But my favorite is Jennifer Pompa (Tammy). A sweet doofus, Pompa supplies her renaissance family with drugs to do the job. A stoned Pompa spends the show sidebarring to no one and knocking on wood. The subtlety is a non-stop laugh riot.
The Factory is spending its 20th Season revisiting three of its most successful shows. The second offering, REN FAIRE! A FISTFUL OF DUCATS is more than a handful of value. This burlesque brawl is the perfect staycation to escape your sucktastic life. Instead of visiting Medieval Times, Noble Horse Theatre, and Second City, go to The Factory’s three shows in one. How often do you get to laugh at actors performing in a renaissance faire? (No, seriously… only this one!)
Running Time: Eighty minutes with no intermission
At The Prop Theatre, 3502 N. Elston
Written by Matt Engle
Directed by Curtis Williams
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru September 2nd
But Tickets at www.thefactorytheater.com