Rose and the Rime (2/22/2009)
Folktales, fables, and fairy stories: all have a universal quality, display a certain timelessness and generality of place, and seek to instruct. Pedagogic confectionary. The Rose and the Rime provides a splendid and entertaining example, wrapping wry smiles and aesthetic enjoyment nougat around a crunchy nugget of Nietzsche. Radio Falls, Michigan is frozen in a perpetual winter due to a witch's curse one generation previous. The narrative unfolds beneath pretty fields of white with red accents and menacing chartreuse lights. The witch is vanquished, and a truth revealed.
House admirably fulfills its mission of using story to create community. Radio Falls is populated by friendly 'aw shucks' neighbors in winter garb, shedding their scarves and mittens once the spell is broken by a triumphant Rose. The ice melts. Post-pubescents boogie. The heroine falls in love. A celebratory barbeque erupts, and hot dog grenades blast down the fourth wall. (This audience member dodged a tinfoil-wrapped Polish.) I haven't seen such charming eye candy since Slawa's Snow Show came to the Chicago Theater. The whimsy is never saccharine, and the moral is more poignant than pedantic in its presentation. I'm still shaking the square white paper tissue 'snowflakes' from my peacoat. Recommended.
Also, patrons who bring a new or gently used fiction or children's book to a performance of The Rose and the Rime will receive $5 off a ticket to the show. All books will be donated to Open Books, Ltd., a nonprofit social venture that operates a bookstore, provides community programs, and mobilizes volunteers to promote literacy in Chicago. This offer is valid through the run.