Wednesday January 24th 2018

“Improbable Frequency”

frequencyp For many, attending theater is a great diversion. No matter the stress of the day, or in fact, in life, attending a theatrical production can take you away from the “outside world” and for the two hours or so ( depending on show) you are in a different place, a different world. If it is a drama, the intensity of the story will do this,if a musical, the songs and dance numbers and if a comedy or farce, the laughter of those around you will not allow the outside stress a chance of taking away your entertainment. Strawdog Theatre Company, now in its 25th season ( just shows how powerful our smaller companies are), is now presenting the Midwest Premiere with Arthur Riordan’s. Irish musical comedy “Improbable Frequency”. This is a comedy with music ( original score by the Irish band Bell Helicopter. The story is about a British code breaker ( who shows his prowess in the handling of crossword puzzles) who is sent to Ireland circa 1941 to investigate some radio broadcasts that appear to be warnings to the Germans. This is a wild romp through what may be history or not. Over 2 hours and 15 minutes, we join Faraday ( Michael Dailey) as he meets some of the stranges characters in a pub in Dublin.When he meets the lovely  Philomana ( an adorable portrayal by Sarah Goeden) his mission begins to drift. Could she be the the spy who is causing the enemy to get the information.

The characters in this farcical romp are played by the ensemble of four superb character actors. Scott Danielson is a hoot, Christina Hall is powerful as double agent Green, a sexy counter spy, Jason Grimm a delight as O’Dromedary ( quite the soft shoe dancer as well) and Eric Paskey as many characters, but he truly shines as the mad scientist, the one who brings to light the “Improbable Frequency” of the forces of nature that his lab can control. This is a highly talented cast with loads of energy- they sing, they dance and they know how to get laughs.

Directed by Kyle Hamman on a very clever set by Joanna Iwanicka, this si slick, but the stage area is smaller than most and with the support beams that are on the stage, choreographer Brigitte Ditmars has some limitations. They do make it work with the exception  of a few spots where the support beams keep the audience in section STR away from the beauty of the relationship between our Hero, Dailey) and Ms Goeden, who by the way end the first act with a wild love song/scene that is worth the price of the ticket on its own merit. While the music is fun (  (directed by Mike Pryzgoda). this show might just be a bit to long. I would love to see a cut version at about 90-100 minutes without the intermission, as I think , unlike Gilbert and Sullivan or Webber and Rice, the music is just that music , that no one will remember or ever hum.

The production people have outdine themselves with this production. The set is unique, the costumes by Rachel Sypniewski, the lighting by Jordan Kardasz and sound by Heath Hays are top notch and I was very impressed by the  difficult props assembled (Jeff Shileds) and the four musicians who never overpower the singers: Hillary Holbrook, Kristina Lee, Curtis Williams and conductor/musical director Mike Pryzgoda. It takes a special team to ensure that the words being sung are heard by those in attendance and this group does it to perfection.

This production will continue at Strawdog Theatre Company’s loft venue located at 3829 North Broadway through March 31st with performances as follows:

Thursdays,Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.

Tikets are $28 ( group, studnets and senior discounts available).To order your, call Ovation Tix at 1-866-811-4111

To learn more about the company and future productions, visit www.strawdog.org

To see what others say, visit www.theatreinchicago.com , click at Review Round-up and then click at “Improbable Frequency”

Parking is metered in the area and of course bus service is very close ( the number 36 will drop you very close to the door)                                             strawdog

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