A visually gratifying and sometimes thrilling display that in the end doesn’t seem sure how seriously it should be taken. Constantly playing with its theatrical nature and pointing out the inherent silliness of the story of a rich man who travels the world on a bet, the play sometimes descends into farce and more often simply gets lost in its own artifice. Artistically and technically impressive, with excellent acting all around and smart direction that combines movement and dance beautifully, the show suffers most from weak writing that doesn’t give much material for actors to work with or audiences to think about. There sometimes seem to be hints that there is some kind of meaning to it all, with a crammed-in message about globalism at the end and a few asides here and there about colonialism, but these themes aren’t sustained, and the tone remains forcibly light. That said, as pure entertainment, it’s a top-notch spectacle and very fun, with a few truly jaw-dropping visual demonstrations. Especially recommended for children. (Monica Westin)
At the Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan, (312)337-0665. This production is now closed.