PICKSINSIX Review: 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
"ONE STAGGERING VISION HEAPED ON ANOTHER."
First things first... If you are looking for a rousing adventure story, rich and rugged scenic elements, dynamic performances, imaginative puppetry and high-flying excitement above and below the waterline - or as the script says, "one staggering vision heaped on another" - Lookingglass Theatre Company's 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas is sure to rock your boat!
High seas exploits... The Jules Verne classics have been majestically reimagined for the stage and this fascinating science fiction epic bubbles up from the deep in a new stage adaptation by David Kersnar and Steve Pickering(Althos Low) weaving all the mystery and suspense of Captain Nemo's high seas exploits together with shipwrecks and sea creatures, great and small, in a thrilling evening of entertainment.
What it's about... Prisoners from a Confederate prison camp escape and crash land a hot-air balloon on a remote island. In time they discover and recognize the Natalius from a familiar published work by the noted French expert Professor Morgan Aronnax, and meet its aging, anguished and sole surviving crew member, Captain Nemo (a spellbinding Kareem Bandealy). The story unfolds through the recollections of Professor Aronnax(the dynamic Kasey Foster), her compatriot, Brigette Conseil(a spirited performance by Lanise Antoine Shelley) and the swashbuckling harpooner Ned Land(a beefy, rugged role for Walter Briggs) who are central to the inner story of seas storms, intrigue and more than a few twists and turns. The superb supporting ensemble includes Thomas J. Cox, Joe Dempsey, Micah Figueroa, Edwin Lee Gibson, Glenn-Dale Obrero and an extraordinary stage crew who make the magic happen.
Fantastic voyage... Fans of the Jules Verne classics or the film version will find this reimagined story right in their wheelhouse, a fantastic voyage with a new, engaging twist of character relationships.
A visual feast... Todd Rosenthal's ruddy, versatile set design is complemented by Sully Ratke's brilliant period costumes highlighted by Christine Binder's lighting and Rick Sims sound. The inspired circus choreography by Slyvia Hernandez-DiStasi, massive rigging by Issac Schoepp and the creative puppet designs of Blair Thomas, Tom Lee and Chris Wooten, make this David Kersnar directed production a visual feast.
REFLECT... Lookingglass presents a post-show discussion entitled REFLECT following the 2:00 p.m. matinees on select Sundays. The June 24th topic: Jules Verne and Victorian Sci-Fi... the July 15th offering is Creatures From The Deep presented in partnership with scientists from Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. For the complete schedule, visit: REFLECT.
Lookingglass Theatre Company
20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
Adapted by David Kersnar and Althos Low
From the Books by Jules Verne
Directed by David Kersnar
through August 19th
821 N Michigan Ave.
For more reviews, visit: Theatre In Chicago