The Neo-Futurists INFINITE WRENCH Review – Bringing Back a Late Night Classic

The cast of THE INFINITE WRENCH Photo: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

At the end of 2016, the Neo-Futurists announced their Andersonville late-night theatre staple, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, would play its last show on December 31st. The original production always offered audience members a unique experience unlike any other show. When it seemed like the show was coming to an end, it was much to the dismay of loyal fans and followers, including this reviewer. However, good news is ahead! The Neo-Futurists have created a new late-night standby that will fill any fan’s needs.

The Neo-Futurists Perform in Tight Time Window

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind was performed with the tagline 30 plays in 60 minutes, where, true to its word, the cast would attempt to perform 30 plays written by ensemble members in the prescribed 60 minutes. This format needed to change when Neo-Futurist founder Greg Allen wanted to take the Too Much Light trademark in a different direction.

Without their standard show they’ve been performing for 28 years, it seemed like the Neo-Futurists would be destined for disaster. I’m happy to report they’ve managed to create a show that follows the same format of Too Much Light but is now titled THE INFINITE WRENCH. Here, the company performs a certain amount of plays in a certain amount of minutes. Each of these plays is still written by an ensemble member and the ensemble members still play themselves onstage.

Tif Harrison Photo: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux
(L to R) Ida Cuttler, Kurt Chiang, Trevor Dawkins Photo: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

Join a Team and Root For Your Color

The major difference between the two shows is the way the plays are called out. The audience still has their “menu” or a piece of paper with play titles on it. Before, audience members were instructed to call out the number of the play they wanted. Now, audience members are assigned a team color and call out that color to select one of the plays under that color’s team.

If your color manages to get all of their plays seen before time runs out, your picture is taken to live on in infamy. Other than that, THE INFINITE WRENCH is just as fun and high-energy as its predecessor.

THE INFINITE WRENCH is performed at The Neo-Futurarium Photo: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

For Those Newcomers Out There

If you’ve never seen the show before – know that this show is for you if you’re a fan of frantic energy, fast theatre, and original plays written about different life experiences.

The time limit keeps the cast constantly moving as they change sets and gather props as they change from one play to another. But if they don’t finish all the plays before time is up, then that’s the show! Each play is also about two minutes so if you didn’t like or didn’t quite grasp what the previous play was about, the show moves to the next one in a flash.

You’ll see plays about every subject under the sun - from a light hearted experience of trying to open a bag of pork rinds after just applying hand lotion to a more political play hypothesizing what would happen in a perfect world. Then of course you’ll get the completely out of the ordinary with a play called “Reverse Rapunzel.” Every single time you go is different and full of surprises.

The Neo-Futurists have not disappointed with their new take on their old classic. They are as punchy and thought-provoking as ever. Old fans and new faces will enjoy THE INFINITE WRENCH (hopefully) for years to come.


Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.

Lily Mooney Photo: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux


May 19th - December 17th 2017.
Fridays and Saturdays at 11:30pm
Sundays at 7:00pm


The Neo-Futurarium
5153 N. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640


Tickets at the door: Cash only, $9 plus the roll of one six-sided die ($10-15)
Advance tickets: $20 with a $1-6 cash rollback; tickets online at


Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

Note:  An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago.

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One thought on “The Neo-Futurists INFINITE WRENCH Review – Bringing Back a Late Night Classic

  1. I beg on my bended knees to differ. The skit about trying to open a jar after putting on lotion offered no refreshing, humorous, or remotely interesting insight about any part of the chip-eating experience to the audience. The skits were disorganized, downright boring, and not even interesting enough to be depressing or thought-provoking. The overwhelming ennui that I left the theater with made it clear that the only joke delivered tonight was on ME for BUYING THESE GODFORSAKEN TICKETS. The cast members made an earnest plea about donations to support local theater, but if this is the type of local theater that my donated dollar might support, it deserves a slow and tortorous death.

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