The ego and Mr. Chickan

Comeback of Freddy Chickan is an intriguing blend of insight and narcissism

In short, Curchack has the guts to do whatever the hell he pleases, and the chops to transform it into theatrical revelation. The Comeback of Freddy Chickan continues that admirable tradition. But the viewer suspects Curchack is running amuck here, outfitting his colorful characters with some personal baggage that might be better unloaded on a psychiatrist's couch--or, at the very least, paraded on stage in more objective, universal guises. In the opening-night performance I saw, Curchack's naked alter ego Freddy Chickan seemed on the verge of throwing a tantrum because the hesitant audience did not provide the stimulation his improvisatory passages so desperately needed.

That is the danger and the thrill of improvisation: You never know how much the ticket buyers will give you, and how much you'll have to supply on your own. Vivacious, eager-to-please, insistent Freddy didn't appear to have bargained for that, and grew visibly agitated. Since Curchack took great pains to step out of the material and identify Mr. Chickan as a thinly veiled variation of himself, his desperation seemed that much more bizarre--and, in light of the superb stuff that preceded it, off-putting.

The Comeback of Freddy Chickan runs through September 1 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Avenue. Call 953-1212.

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