Saturday August 19th 2017

“The Food Show”

For those of you who have attended a Neo-Futurist production the newest one,  “The Food Show” , will not surprise you ! For “newbies”, be prepared for a unique and special theatrical experience. The troupe is a collective of writer-director-performers who create theater that is a fusion of sport, poetry and a living newspaper ( I did not make this up, they use that as part of their “mission”) having created almost 1,000 plays. For years, we have ventured to Foster and Ashland, on the second floor to see what surprises they have is store for us. Tonight, I went to a new venue, and when I say NEW, I MEAN NEW!

The new production, “The Food Show” is being staged in the complex (no name yet) that houses Metropolitan Brewing ( they are moving from their Ravenswood location) in the middle of an industrial area on North Rockwell Avenue. The part of the complex that has the theater is 3031 ( between Elston Avenue and Belmont), FYI: The brewing company will only be a part of the complex which will be a major entertainment center on the North side, with lots more to come.

The new show, in this new venue, is set up as if viewing a cooking class, but with the audience sitting on bleachers, not chairs. The show is around 70 minutes in length and even us “older people” had  no problem with comfort. The five performers (new to this ensemble) greet each patron and also ask if they have any food restrictions. There will be food! (note” not for everyone, but by knowing who can eat what or not, they will not offer anything to someone who could end up getting ill). I was very happy to see that!

The concept was developed by Dan Kerr-Hobert with help from his cousin (Neo-Futurist alum) Caitlin Stainken, and what these five performers do is explore how food brings us together while at the same time, sets us apart. The performers get into it as they not only tell us stories of their food experiences, but actually cook food onstage. They speak about traditions and culture, traditions and health issues. The actors talk and work and cook and eat while the audience watches on (wishing they had stopped for a bite first). There is some music, and dancing and even some audience participation. Comic touches are spattered throughout the 70 minutes of great stories, smells and smiles.

The five chef/story-teller/actors are Bilal Dardai, Tif Harrison, Kyra Sims, Spencer Meeks (at the piano and other instruments) and the very funny Oliver Camacho who does a great bit as he sears a tuna dish with the help of an audience member. His flirtatious style is hysterical and even the audience member enjoyed every minute of it (as did he in eating the prepared dish). The music in the show was composed by Ronnie Kuller . Erik Newman designed the set and handles the props (and with a cooking format, there were lots of props). The lighting and sound were I believe John Kelly. and I will have to say, this is a high ceiling venue so sound does not travel with ease. A mike system might make sense.

This is a company that is full of surprises and that is what veteran audiences expect. For those who are going for your first experience, just walk in knowing that this will be different and let it happen. If you do, you will have a ball. If you don’t, shame on you. While these five performers do educate us about food and customs and traditions, we are in the theater to have a good time, and they make sure of that. “The Food Show” will continue at The Metropolitan Brewing Company’s Avondale location, located at 3031 N. Rockwell (with plenty of parking ) thru September 2nd with performances as follows:

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  7:30 p.m.

Tickets are from $10-$25 and can be ordered by calling 773-275-5255 or online at www.neofuturists.org

Their other show, “The Infinite Winch” is on an open-run at their location at 5153 N. Ashland Avenue (at Foster) on Fridays and Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 p.m.

Cost $9 plus the roll of a six-sided die. This show changes with the events and actors. Lots of two -minute plays to make your mind whirl.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “The Food Show”.

Watch for a story on the complex itself and what other entertainments will be coming to this unique space.

 

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