Highly Recommended **** Many Chicago theater-goers know of the wonderful work that is done bt the Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company up at their Angle Island home on Sheridan and Broadway, but many more, not so. That is a shame and is something that can be corrected. Back in 2008, this company has a wonderful production of “Our Bad Magnet” by Douglas Maxwell. I confess, I was unable to review that production due to some other situations, so the fact that they are remounting this to begin their 29th season, is something that i am thankful for.
“Our Bad Magnet” is a dark comedy that tells the story of some Scottish lads, who as little boys befriend a 4th member of the group, a boy named Giggles (Lane Flores, who is the only non-original member of this cast does a remarkable job in this special role). He is different. Since there is a bit of mystery involved in this gritty tale, I will have to leave some things out, as I will never spoil the story line of a mystery. I will say this about “Giggles”. He is as I said, different, in that he is creative and has the ability to tell tales that draw the attention of the others.
The story begins as the three main boys, now grown men, meet on the hillside of their youth. It is now 2001 and they are meeting to discuss publishing of the stories that their friend wrote. Paul (deftly handled by Layne Manzer) who now works in a publishing house in London has sold these stories and they will all prosper from them. Fraser ( a powerful character played by Dan Behrendt) is probably the most realistic of these men and Alan (John Wilson brings a very sympathetic note to this man, who may be the biggest “loser” of the lot). It turns out that Giggles (Gordon , his real name) is no longer with them and as the story unfolds through flashbacks in time, as we learn the fate of the fourth member of this group.
Under the skillful eye of Director Carlo Lorenzo Garcia, on a set by John Wilson, that utilizes the small stage area in this theater to its best advantage, we get the feeling that we are next to the water in a rather old and somewhat seedy area of the country. Matthew Gawryk’s lighting and Joe Court’s sound add to the enchantment of the tale being told. What happened to Giggles? Why did he leave his writings behind? The story is crisp and told with a special flavor that makes you want to know more. Two acts, 7 scenes and less than two hours of sheer mystery and enchantment with these four solid performers, taking us on a magical mystery tour where fantasy and reality merge like magnets.
Angel Island only holds 48 patrons , so I would suggest that you not wait to order your opportunity to go back in time and see this production. There is some nudity and lots of language in the telling of this tale, but none of it for shock- it all works! The production will run through April 26th with performances as follows:
Thursdays 8 p.m.
Fridays 8 p.m.
Saturdays 8 p.m.
Sundays 7 p.m.
Tickets are $25 ( $20 for seniors and students) and can be ordered by calling Ticketweb at 1-866-468-3401 or online at www.maryarrchie.com
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Our Bad Magnet”