All he needs is the horn!...
He’s just like his famed fellow silent mime comic Harpo Marx!
This came to mind while watching the affable, ever-smiling kitchen helper, Felix (played by Daniel Trinidad) as he mimes the latest twist and turn in his efforts to hide the Amazon-shipped pig that lacks a USDA stamp from the Health Inspector who is making a surprise visit. SPOILER ALERT!: You too may agree that his best gambit is when he grabs the inspector’s hat and rain coat to make the pig look like Dick Tracy.
The similarities to the Marx Brothers’ Day at the Races doesn’t end there. This is a romp made for comic antics, with only the barest thread of story to hold the action together. We see escapades from:
- Two man-hungry flirts – one out to swipe free cutlery and glassware, the other a vegan on a quest to build her Instagram following into a paid gig;
- A sous-chef not quite ready for primetime publicity getting thrown into the hot seat, leaving us guessing whether the wrong pills he took were Viagra, Xanax or both;
- A competitor posing as a waiter to steal the recipe for the signature dish, and trash others along the way;
- The Health Inspector pulling out his I-AM-SOMEBODY cue cards to help him man-up, with deep aspirations expressed such as yearning for tranquil bowels.
These and other characters collide as though in a pinball game: often simultaneously in surround-sound-surround-action so that you are immersed in the chaos of what-can-go-wrong-does-go-wrong --- a day at the restaurant races.
Windy City Playhouse Gives A Taste of Immersive Theater
You are part of the story. You’re one of the social media influencers invited to sample the fare on this special night. We DO get tasty morsels, courtesy of co-writer and famed chef Rick Bayless, as well as splashes of wine as we move from foyer to our cabaret style seating in the open kitchen restaurant. Periodically a gong is sounded, quieting the pandemonium for a bit. Majestic and uplifting scores then signal the waitstaff processional to begin bringing you the next course announced by the drug-addled sous chef or one of his stand ins. It’s not a full meal- just a tasting. SPOILER ALERT: the best course, in this writer’s view, is the well-named Chocolate Fantasy dessert brought to you with an up-tempo Klezmer tune.
Regular Chicago theater-goers who look to Windy City Playhouse for life-memorable theater gems in the immersive theater style, like this writer, should lower expectations. Is this a good match—script, Loop location, advert of our city’s fine dining —for the tourist droves we hope will be returning soon? You betcha! In this writer’s view, Windy City Playhouse does us proud.
150 North Dearborn
Photos by Emily Madigan (cast headshots) and Kyle Flubacher (production shots)
About the Author: Amy Munice
Amy Munice is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of Picture This Post. She covers books, dance, film, theater, music, museums and travel. Prior to founding Picture This Post, Amy was a freelance writer and global PR specialist for decades—writing and ghostwriting thousands of articles and promotional communications on a wide range of technical and not-so-technical topics.
Amy hopes the magazine’s click-a-picture-to-read-a-vivid-account format will nourish those ever hunting for under-discovered cultural treasures. She especially loves writing articles about travel finds, showcasing works by cultural warriors of a progressive bent, and shining a light on bold, creative strokes by fledgling artists in all genres.