Burning Bluebeard

Theater
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 (Photograph: Evan Hanover)
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Photograph: Evan Hanover
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Photograph: Evan Hanover
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Photograph: Evan Hanover
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Photograph: Evan Hanover
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Photograph: Evan Hanover
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 (Photograph: Evan Hanover)
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Photograph: Evan Hanover
Burning Bluebeard

A few days after Christmas 1903, during a matinee performance of the extravagant holiday panto Mr. Bluebeard at the brand-new, "absolutely fireproof" Iroquois Theatre in Chicago's Loop, 600 audience members perished in a fire. In Burning Bluebeard, an alternately wistful, sidesplitting and chill-inducing excavation first seen in a 2011 Neo-Futurists production and now remounted by the Ruffians, six lightly singed members of Mr. Bluebeard's company attempt to erase the tragedy by successfully completing the performance without going up in flames. Jay Torrence's blazing breakdown of events cheekily blends moods and periods; under Halena Kays's measured direction, the gags and dance numbers serve as a welcome balance to the horrific facts. The show returns this year for just three nights back where it was born, at the Neo-Futurarium.

By: Kris Vire

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