'Stuffed and Unstrung' ✭✭✭

This live, adults-only show,  created by Brian Henson and Patrick Bristow, performed by a highly skilled cast of puppet-improvisers, and consisting mostly of traditional improv games played by a plethora of intentionally random puppets selected from dozens sitting on racks on the stage, aims to re-create some of the anarchic, R-rated improvised dialog in which Jim Henson Company puppeteers indulged when the cameras were not rolling. And so it does¿laughs ring out. When it comes to puppets, even smutty puppets, the Henson brand remains formidable. "Stuffed and Unstrung," a delight for Muppet fans who¿ve come of age, is a very clever conceit in that it allows you to see the puppets and puppeteers live on stage, but also to watch a second show playing out on big screens in which the puppeteers are not seen. In other words, you don¿t just get to laugh at the inventions of the puppeteers, you also feel like you get a window into how all those great Henson movies and TV shows were actually made. -- Chris Jones<br><br><b>Through June 17 at the Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St.; $25-$60 at 800-775-2000 and broadwayinchicago.com</b>

( June 13, 2012 )

This live, adults-only show, created by Brian Henson and Patrick Bristow, performed by a highly skilled cast of puppet-improvisers, and consisting mostly of traditional improv games played by a plethora of intentionally random puppets selected from dozens sitting on racks on the stage, aims to re-create some of the anarchic, R-rated improvised dialog in which Jim Henson Company puppeteers indulged when the cameras were not rolling. And so it does¿laughs ring out. When it comes to puppets, even smutty puppets, the Henson brand remains formidable. "Stuffed and Unstrung," a delight for Muppet fans who¿ve come of age, is a very clever conceit in that it allows you to see the puppets and puppeteers live on stage, but also to watch a second show playing out on big screens in which the puppeteers are not seen. In other words, you don¿t just get to laugh at the inventions of the puppeteers, you also feel like you get a window into how all those great Henson movies and TV shows were actually made. -- Chris Jones

Through June 17 at the Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St.; $25-$60 at 800-775-2000 and broadwayinchicago.com

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