Recommended *** “Circumference of a Squirrel”, the Greenhouse Solo Celebration! Series finale, a one-man show featuring Will Allan, is a young man’s rant blaming his father for all of his problems. I’m sure his father had a certain amount of culpability for his son’s woes, but many, if not most, of his problems were his own fault. Will Allan’s wonderful performance just couldn’t make up for the script’s lack of originality. I give it 3 Spotlights.
The performance began with a series of really dumb spotlighted poses, mostly of Chester (Allan) biting an inner tube – imitating a squirrel, I guess. One day, as Chester watched a squirrel carry a bagel, which was bigger than he was, across a park, he waxed philosophical about the critters.
His father hated squirrels! When Chester was a boy, he saw a squirrel bit his father’s foot. His dad had to have the series of rabies shots. Although he didn’t catch rabies, Chester always thought the bite made him crazy. After the bite, his dislike for squirrels became an obsession. He came up with creative ways to kill them, even paying Chester and his brother a bounty for every dead squirrel they brought to him.
Chester’s father was a bundle of contradictions – a squirrel-hating, rabid anti-Semite, who always had lifesavers in his pocket. His mother was just as obsessed in her own way, making wreaths out of any and all crafty materials she could find.
When he was in college, Chester met and fell in love with a beautiful girl who happened to be Jewish. During college, he made up excuses not to go home for Christmas, until he couldn’t think of any more. Since his girlfriend didn’t have to make up excuses for missing Christmas, they made plans to visit his parents. Obviously Chester tied himself in guilty knots because he hadn’t told her that his dad was an anti-Semite.
When his father died, Chester had to reflect on the failures in his own life, and his own responsibility for them.
“Circumference of a Squirrel” runs through February 12th at the Greenhouse Theater Center (Upstairs Mainstage), 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.
Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 pm
Saturday at 2:00 and 7:30 pm
Sunday at 2:00 pm.
Tickets range from $34-$48.
Parking is available in the Lincoln Garage (formerly the Children’s Memorial Hospital Garage) about a block and a half north of the Greenhouse. 2-4 hours will run you $10. Metered street parking can also be found, especially on week nights.
to order tickets call (773) 404-7336 or www.greehousetheater.org.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Circumference of a Squirrel”