With their current production of “500 Clown Macbeth” at Lookingglass Theatre, 500 Clown has officially emerged from the underground and finally gone legit. And judging by this latest incarnation of the show, the troupe hasn’t lost any of its driving insanity along the way. Three clowns—Molly Brennan, with her Raggedy Ann looks, Adrian Danzig, playing the doofus, and Paul Kalina, a grimacing fireplug of energy—attempt to perform Shakespeare’s Scottish play, and fail miserably. Except they don’t. Fail, that is. Well, they do and they don’t. Their power grab for the crown—played out with increasingly dangerous stunts atop a rickety scaffold—inevitably (and quite cleverly) mirrors the Macbeth plotline, right down to Brennan’s hilarious turn as a seething Lady Macbeth. Has existential angst ever been this funny? Is there anything better than watching Brennan crash around in that bright pink tutu and Doc Martens? The X-Game/zero-fear mentality, guided with a sharp focus on the absurd by director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, literally turns into a bloodbath by the play’s end as the trio pretends to blow each other’s heads off. I know, it sounds bad. Really bad. And that’s the beauty of it. Danzig’s infamous crotch-lit-with-two-hundred-firecrackers stunt is gone this time—sadly, no pyro allowed at the Lookingglass—but it has been replaced with an equally uproarious sight gag involving an exploding hot water bottle. You’ve got to give props to any guy who continually thinks up new and novel ways to potentially disfigure his groin. (Nina Metz)
“500 Clown Macbeth” plays at the Lookingglass Theater, 821 North Michigan, (312)337-0665, through August 29.