Thursday, February 17, 2011

The House Is A Rockin'--Check out Madness in Miniature Tonight!

The House Theatre has FOUR amazing shows going on right now.   We had the pleasure of checking out opening night of Madness in Miniature last Thursday, and highly recommend it.   This quirky nod to the silent film era intersperses piano with macabre puppet sketches.   Meredith Miller  is amazing and pulls off the overdramatic look and acting style of the era with ease.  Her talented pianist also hams it up, to go beyond accompanying, to create a visual show of his own!

As a child, I grew up in Cincinnati, where the ornate, chandeliered Emery Theatre was a weekend showcase for black and white classics, complete with live piano accompaniment.   This show absolutely recaptured the magic of those days and took me back, with an extra measure of snark and dark humor that made the evening exquisite.   

Unlike other wide eyed starlets with lush, over sized mouths, whose sub par voices made them obsolete with the advent of the talkies, Meredith has also been graced with a gorgeous singing voice, which she puts to good use.   
We were also interested to learn that Meredith makes all the puppets herself!   Without too many spoilers, we were particularly partial to the shadow puppets of famous deaths, the bird munching wolf, the capsizing ship hat, and the grand finale--flirting with the devil.   Even the maudlin parts were hilarious, and fraught with finely tuned comedic timing.

Big city-small community.   Meredith got her start, years ago, with Redmoon, another of our local puppet favs.   However, this puppet prodigy has been expending her energies at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in recent years.   We were already set to review Macbeth for them, two days after we checked out Meredith's show, and we're currently giving away a family 4 pack of tickets ending at midnight tonight.  Macbeth doesn't feature any puppet work, but Meredith is already prepping puppets for an upcoming Chicago Shakespeare production.

It's all interconnected.   I've lived in Chicago over 20 years, and I'm still amazed at how small the film, art, music and theatre communities are.   It all one big, freaky family.

Meredith can also be seen this Friday and in the near future at these venues:
Madness In Miniature: An Evening of Intimate Puppet Theater
Open run Thursday evenings a 10:30 pm
The Chopin Theater, 1543 West Division
This late night event is a showcase of Meredith's greatest hits, presented in the opulent lounge of the Chopin Theater, and featuring Nick Sula on the grand piano.

Show and Tell Cabaret
February 19th, 11pm
The Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N Lincoln Ave
Meredith (as Claire de Lune) presents an act in this stellar line-up of Chicago's best burlesquers, presented by Vaudezilla

THAW: Links Hall's Night of Hot Winter Ballyhoo!
March 1st, 6:30 to Midnight
The Red Canary, 695 N Milwaukee Ave
Meredith performs her classic tabletop shadow puppet show "The Immortals" at this fundraiser for Links Hall

What is Love?
March 11-13, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, sunday at 7pm 
Links Hall, 3435 N Sheffield Ave
Presented by burlesque queen Pearl Pistol, this cabaret-inspired theater piece is a cheeky look into cultrual perceptions and directions of love, lust, sensuality, and sexuality, and features the solo work of Pearl Pistol, Kyle Greer, Harper Horan, Nadia Oussenko, and Meredith Miller

Back to Madness in Miniature, our favorite room in The House, the basement parlour, augments and accentuates this fanciful production.   Theatergoers can grab a cocktail at the bar and lounge on comfy couches, while being serenaded in this intimate performance space.  Madness in Miniature would be a great date night or a multigenerational treat to bring your over 21 family members to.   The black humor will have the most cynical hipsters snorting in their seats, and the classic, cabaret style music will make a grand night out for hip Grandparents.


This late-night piece of puppet theater opened last week and is unlike anything else on the Chicago stage!
Madness in Miniature is an hour-long line-up of intimate, lush puppetry performances created and performed by Chicago puppet designer and performer Meredith Miller.
Comprised of a series of “interludes” featuring Miller’s signature style of “cabaret” puppetry, the show is evocative of the artwork of Edward Gorey—elegant, macabre, understated, and hovering somewhere between Victorian and Art Deco. Miller appears both as herself, and as a puppeteer/manipulator of objects, accompanied by live jazz and ragtime played on a grand piano.

We also adored Magic Parlour.   Check out ChiIL Mama's review HERE.  With growing audiences, this late night spectacular is quickly growing an enormous following.
The Magic Parlour is every Friday night at 10:30 pm.

We were also creeped out and impressed by Odradek, Brett Neveu's world premier horror hit.   Check out ChiIL Mama's review HERE.
"The most effective horror theater I've seen," says Time Out, Chicago. Rumor has it, more than one audience member has spewed during the show.
Get your tickets NOW, the show closes MARCH 7th!
ChiIL Mama's still got an exclusive interview with the playwright, in his punk rock personae, coming up in the very near future.   Brett has not one, but THREE plays currently running in the Chicago area.
So what are you waiting for.   Get outta the house and over to The House Theatre.

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