In its latest ardent call to activism, Quest takes mask work, dance, show tunes and puppetry, and combines it with the democracy of a drum circle with mixed results. The show’s muddled narrative modifies the Pandora tale; the Greek Nosy Parker doesn’t let the world’s evils out of the box; she simply notices life’s everyday evils. How does she solve them? Social change! Wind power! Drum circles!
This is broad-strokes theater, but the politics are naïve to the point of inaccuracy and the transitional dialogue is ham-handed. A bad audio mix drowned out the voices of the sixteen-member ensemble in the show’s opener. There are a few bright spots: Aimee Bass’ patient instruction enabled the most rhythmically challenged audience members to engage in basic drumming and Jason Bowen has the superior singing chops to support his narrator/mentor (villain?) role. The show’s issues are important; they deserve a more coherent examination. (Lisa Buscani)
Quest Theatre Ensemble, 1609 West Gregory, (312)458-0895. Through September 19.