“ Director Matt Hawkins is working at the top of his game with a show that easily melds top 40 tunes, real emotion and laughter at the lip's edge of a grave. ”— Chicago Tribune
“ ★★★★★ … Barnes's work feels utterly, surprisingly relevant in this inventive and kinetic staging … Red Noses is a major achievement … ”— Time Out Chicago
“ RECOMMENDED … an exhilarating, hilariously unsettling meditation on the orgiastic response to mass human die-off. ”— Chicago Reader
“ What a treat to watch this tight 23-person cast at complete ease with their challenging material, riffing off each other even as the tone constantly shifts from silly to dark to inspirational … It's rare indeed to find a show packed with gallows humor that doesn't trivialize death, yet leaves everyone smiling. ”— Chicago Free Press
Think the world's got problems now? In the mid-1300's, the Black Plague wiped out half the population of Europe. HALF. More conservative estimates say one quarter. But we find HALF gets the point across better. People were dropping like flies, and the living had trouble deciding what to do with themselves. Uncontrollable weeping? Self-flagellation?
For one priest, the answer is clear: make 'em laugh. Turning a band of desperate misfits into a troupe of deeply untalented circus performers, he sets out to prove that the best defense against a cruel world is a bad joke beautifully told.
Matt Hawkins, director of The House Theatre's hit show "Hatfield and McCoy," brings Peter Barnes' epic extravaganza and its cast of 23 to Strawdog's intimate space. It's a delirious, hilarious, but entirely serious kick to the pants of death, despair, Puritanism and everything else that has it coming.