Infinitesimals bridge the gap from here to there, that paradox-mongering Greek philosopher Zeno pointed out, asking insidiously how you could ever get across the room by going halfway and then halfway again ad infinitum. As plugs for leaky experience, infinitesimals prove an apt theme for the festival of visual theatre at Links Hall through the end of the month, curated by Meghan Stroll. Visual theatre here implies the quasi-respectable forms that link the highest-brow avant-garde theatre to its rowdy street-performance predecessors: magic, puppetry, clowning, juggling. Last weekend’s installment, for instance, featured the surrealist-inflected magic and films of David London. More Cocteau than Copperfield, London invents whimsical and moody scenarios for his subtle table-magic effects. While some of his scripted non-sequiturs fall flat, and his musical accompaniment at times veers into loungey self-parody, London maintains a brooding intensity throughout, transforming his set of sleight-of-hand standards into a fleeting evocation of dreamy wonder. Tom and Melissa Howe opened with the slight but engaging silent-comedy homage “Flypaper.” Stroll’s festival showcases a significant trend in adventurous Chicago theatre, underlining its connection to the burgeoning neo-vaudeville/burlesque movement. Future performers include juggler Fritz Grobe (January 21-23) and Larry Underwood, presenting the macabre “Corpus Delecti” (January 28-30). (John Beer)
“Infinitesimals” play at Links Hall, 3435 North Sheffield, (773)281-0824, through January 30.