‘Hellcab’ at the Elephant Stages

By Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Hell in a Cab is definitely not Genii in a Bottle.  The freaks don’t just come out at night and nothing is off limits from religion, to racism, to sex, violence or kindness.  It’s Christmas Eve in the windy city but still an average day for an average city cab driver.

Currently extended at the Elephant Theatre is Hellcab by Will Kern.  This one hell of a holiday ride, directed by Elephant’s artistic director David Fofi, was originally produced in 1992 by Famous Door Theatre and is one of the longest-running shows in Chicago theatre history.  The plays are taken straight from real life – 85% of them are true and they happened to the author.  How’s that for “authenticity”?!

Lead actor Danny Parker-Lopes, remarks in the program, “Generations to come will have no idea what a Taxi is. They won’t know what it’s like to get in a smelly disgusting Cab and not worry about the repercussions of acting like a jack ass or making a mess or throwing up.”

But we actually get a pretty good idea of the driver’s side point of view from Lopes, who uncannily captures a vulnerable, tense, not always so bright but mostly good-hearted, ordinary guy, trying to make a living.  Driving a cab is not always pretty, can get you into trouble, is often life threatening dangerous, takes voyeurism to a heightened sexy level, punches you in the stomach with brutal realities and sometimes…once in a blue moon, can be awfully, surprisingly nice.

Most people don’t experience this kind of emotional roller coaster in half a lifetime, never mind one single night.

The cast of characters in this show is hilarious and highly entertaining.  Hellcab is a great show all around creatively performed by a well-rounded cast.

Worth the ticket.

Featuring: Danny Parker, Anita Curran, Charlotte Taschen, Cody Anderson, Dominic Rains, Eric Bunton, Erick Nathan, Ethan Rains, Etienne Eckert, Gary Werntz, Jason Konopsis, Jennifer Finch. Joe Tomasini, John Charles Meyer, Jolie Carina, Katherine Barcsay, Keena Ferguson, Kim Estes, Kimberly Alexander, Lawrence Dillard, LeShay Tomlinson Boyce, Marina Mouhibian, Meghan Cox, Rey Goyos, Scott Krinsky, Shannon McManus, Tara Norris, Terrance Flack and Tim Starks.

Run Time:  80 minutes

Photo (above) by James Pippi: Dominic Rains and Danny Parker 

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