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BWW Reviews: The Second City's ITHAMAR HAS NOTHING TO SAY Provides Silent, Sly Amusement

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While "Ithamar Has Nothing to Say" is a silent solo sketch show - and the only show of this kind I have seen - I nevertheless must use the written word to describe the happenings therein. Directed by Frank Caeti, Mainstage alum Ithamar Enriquez takes the stage in a one-man show that harkens back to the silent film comedies of the 1930s made famous by such noted film artists as Buster Keaton, and, of course, Charlie Chaplin. Like the latter filmmaker, Enriquez exudes charm and slyness in this 50-minute solo piece. And like Keaton, he relies on sight gags and heavily physical bits to tell the story of each of his sketches. Most of these succeed; the occasional sketch feels like a misstep.

The most delightful and genuinely funny moments in "Ithamar Has Nothing to Say" draw from Enriquez's intense physicality and incredibly pliable facial expressions. In one of the show's best bits, he reenacts famous scenes from classic movies...using only his hands and fingers on the surface of a table. Think: Dirty Dancing with fingers moving in sync to the music or The Lord of the Rings triumphant battle resulting in a collision of hands. Then there's Story Time with Ithamar. While a sketch labeled story time in a silent show may seem an odd thing indeed, Enriquez's playfulness shines there here. He exaggeratedly presents a large picture book to the audience then proceeds to "read" the story to himself - all while contorting his face into the most animated expressions and crafting his own tale.

Some of the sketches in "Ithamar Has Nothing to Say," however, feel like they truly aren't communicating much of anything. A sketch that finds Enriquez frantic in a hotel lacks narrative and feels sloppy, while an unfortunate piece in which he encounters a sexually overactive puppet at a bus stop simply feels at odds with the more genial nature of the other moments in the show.

Ultimately in "Ithamar Has Nothing to Say," Enriquez demonstrates that silence is sometimes the best mode of communication for it forces us to truly focus on the moment, lean in, and find some laughs along the way. Overall, "Ithamar Has Nothing to Say" makes for an enjoyable and charming evening. Like the great magician Ithmartini he portrays, Enriquez has some very funny and surprising silent tricks up his sleeve.

"Ithamar Has Nothing to Say" runs on Fridays and Saturdays through June 20 at Donny's Skybox Theatre in The Second City Training Center, 1616 N. Wells. Tickets are $20. http://www.secondcity.com/shows/chicago/ithamar-has-nothing-to-say-2/


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