Chicago Theatre Review
The Laughter Will Make You MEGAthink.
From the moment we enter the theater space at A Red Orchid Theatre, we begin to notice a world that could be from our future or maybe it is somewhere vaguely familiar? It turns out for this world premiere of “MEGACOSM” it is both.
The two principal actors have already been on the stage, even before the house lights are dimmed; both already creating a sense of tension and unease for the audience. With a quaking explosion and flickering monitors, the story begins in a world of unrest and suspicion.
Chris, played by impressively skilled Larry Grimm, is here for an appointment. He is here at this office to meet with Britt, played amazingly by Danny McCarthy. How did he get in to see him? Who sent him? What does he have to show Britt that would warrant such a meeting in these hours of unrest? These questions are all answered with great surprise and twists that no one can see coming.
We find out that this is just a small room of a manufacturing company that is at a point of immediate unrest. With explosions, power surges, and a rioting faction of “childlike” workers, the actors create a wonderful sense of urgency and danger.
Oh, and did I mention this is a comedy?
Mr. Grimm’s portrayal of “Chris” is subtle, and always at just the right amount of pathos for this unwitting victim of wrong place, wrong time, right idea. As his up-up- up tight interviewer, ”Britt”, Mr. McCarthy’s immersion into a paranoid self-saving frenzy is delightful. Both actors’ comedic timing and delivery of confusing complex repartee is nothing short of thrilling. They are fun to watch and they make the audience confident as they pull them on this journey as they both grasp for the biggest straw.
As the story unfolds, we are introduced to two other characters during the mayhem that is “MEGACOSM”. “Sam” (David Steiger) is a long time worker the company with some special identity issues. Maybe he has been at the company too long? He is Britt’s minion, and not the perfect work relationship. I will leave it at that. Mr. Steiger’s portrayal of a broken man who keeps you guessing is excellent. “Carol” is played by 9 year old Eden Strong. Ms. Strong’s character is a little less than happy about her working conditions at the factory. She takes on some of the more uncomfortable moments with great ease and strength.
Written by Brett Neveu, the quick dialogue and the layer by layer revelations of the characters makes for some excellent theater. I can imagine what fun he had writing some of the more surprising moments in the show. It is at times laugh out loud comedy, but making you think about the horror of how these characters got here in the first place.
With Dado’s direction at the helm, the show moves quickly and there is never a dull moment. A deceptively complex piece with the movement on stage, the tech and sound aspects, and creating a sense of suspenseful excitement is a tall order. All have been accomplished with Dado’s creative eye.
Not mentioning the scenic, light, sound, and media designs would be truly amiss. These elements were so important to the feel of the play and moving the story forward. And without giving anything away, provided another venue for a whole new characters to unfold.
MEGACOSM is a not only a story of about a company that is not so far off the beam in today’s society; but of characters we are afraid we could become given the same set of company circumstances. Go see MEGACOSM and enjoy the laughs, but the food for thought will stay with you for a while.
MEGACOSM runs at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N Wells Ave. through 26 Feb. 2012. Box office 312-943-8722 or online at www.aredorchidtheatre.org