Wednesday April 23rd 2014

“500 Clown Trapped”

Recommended Many local area theater-goers, over the years have witnessed the zany comedy of 500 Clown, a mixture of story telling, physical comedy and circus like acrobatics. Their shows have always been adult orientated, but now that co-founder of this troupe Adrian Danzig has become a parent, he has developed a new show that is geared for pure family fun as well as for some, their first experience of “live theater”. His newest creation”500 Clown Trapped” in conjunction with Adventure Stage ( a company that does  theater fro young audiences at their home venue, Vittum Theater, a charming theater on the near north side ( 1012 N. Noble, between Augusta and Milwaukee Avenues). Unlike, 500 Clown’s previous “adult” shows, this story is not a spoof of anything, but inn fact deals with a topic- “trapped”! What does it feel like to be trapped? What does it mean to be trapped? How does one set themselves free? Can it be done alone or with the help of their friends? These are all interesting questions and one of the best features of this 80 minute production is that after viewing it, the kids get to ask questions and discuss what they just saw and of greater importance what they felt.

There are some new clown members working with Danzig, Tim Heck and the adorable and very agile Leah Urzendowski. The show begins with these three “clowns” coming out and greeting the audience as they climb over the seats and make some music. After the are introduced, they ask the emcee to remove the big platform onstage so they can do their thing. As it turns out, this is part of the set and offers some very fun-filled moments as our heroes begin to play music and then find themselves trapped with what appears to be no escape. What they do, using slapstick, comedy and their own creativity is search for ways to become “un-trapped”.

I certainly don’t want to give away the surprises that take place in this production directed by Paola Coletto, but I will tell you that there are some amazing comic bits and some very spectacular moments of athleticism. While most of the 80 minutes or so had me in stitches, I found a few quiet moments ( space ship for one) that might be better off deleted or modified. In a kids show, we don’t want the kids getting restless! All the little ones watched with very little distraction as the clowns did their thing, climbing poles, flying in an airplane, riding the train rails and having to deal with their musical instruments disappearing into what appears to be a snow covered platform that takes on a life of its own. The set is designed by Danzig who also conceived the story.

 For adults, we can think back in time to watching Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin( if you are old enough) or some of your favorite Looney Tunes cartoon characters ( think of the “Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote) and you will see what Danzig and his clowns are attempting to do- make people laugh, but also to make them think. They do work hard in accomplishing these goals, but succeed they do.

The schedule for this novelty show for young audiences is quite limited, running through May 21st with performances as follows:

Fridays at 7 p.m.,Saturdays at 2 and 7 p.m. and weekdays 10:30 a.m. ( mostly for school groups, but I am sure they can find seats for you and your kids)

Tickets range from $12 to $20 and can be reserved by calling 773-342-4141 or online at www.adventurestage.org

The theater is located at 1012 N. Noble Street, in the heart of West Town, close to the #56 Milwaukee Avenue bus line and not far from the Division stop on the BLUE line.

Special feature on Saturday, May 14th at 2 p.m. After the show ( 2 p.m.) every child will receive a free book from Gabriel Levinston and his Book Bike, a tricycle that carries over 200 pounds of books that he gives away so that kids will learn to love reading.

If you are seeking great family entertainment, something to do as a family ( no matter the age), “500 Clown Trapped” is the perfect way to spend your day! visit www.500clown.com

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