The Artistic Home’s “Modigliani” delves into the life of one of the art world’s most uninhibited bohemians. Unfortunately, the piece details all of the artist’s bloated excess and none of his storied charm and intelligence.
The show’s opening is “smashing”: Amadeo “Modi” Modigliani (John Mossman) is shown literally and figuratively breaking through barriers. But from there, the story devolves into parody rather than portrait. Modi’s relationships with painters Chaim Soutine (Matt Welton) and Maurice Utrillo (Luis Crespo) are more Keystone Kops comedy than a meeting of minds, and his love affair with poet Beatrice Hastings (Maria Stephens) is reduced to a series of brawls. The cast attempts to inject some humanity and balance in the characters; Zbo (Eustace Allen) provides a welcome oasis of calm. But the script gradually whips them into a frenzy of self-destruction. Ultimately, Hastings retreats from their hardscrabble existence. Who could blame her? (Lisa Buscani)
At The Artistic Home, 3914 N. Clark Street, 866 811-4111. Through March 22.