December 31st, 2016 was the end of an era - The Neo-Futurists retired their long-running production of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind after a well-documented fallout with the man behind the show, who had left the Chicago company several years earlier. After much drama, The Neos in Chicago, NYC and LA banded together to create something new - but would this replacement production fill the massive shoes of the original? The answer is a resounding 'YES!'
The Infinite Wrench will feel familiar to anyone who had seen its predecessor in that the energetic ensemble performs a multitude of short plays in just 60 minutes (and the clock is watching!). However, this time around, the audience can also throw a surprise wrench into the show, which alters the rest of the night in a hilarious and shocking way.
The plays range in time from around thirty seconds to a few minutes, and are written by the ensemble members who also play themselves on stage. There is music, dancing, mess-making, joke-telling, confessing, and everything in between. Where The Infinite Wrench succeeds most is in the inclusion of a larger number of more serious scripts - it seems that the state of country has made the ensemble feel the need to address current issues with more urgency. They also included significantly more music and sound into the plays than I remembered in Too Much Light, which added so much to the experience. When the talented ensemble isn't on stage, they surround you in the audience, laughing and clapping along with you.
The Neo-Futurists could have shuttered at the end of Too Much Light's run, but instead, they rose from the ashes better than ever. I laughed, I cried, and I learned - The Infinite Wrench is a triumph in every way.
Review by Jason Berger
The Infinite Wrench is running indefinitely at The Neo-Futurarium, Fri/Sat at 11:30pm, Sun at 7pm.
More information here.
The Hawk Chicago is included in TheatreInChicago's Review Round-Up.