Review: “Scandalous: I Want a Banana & Other Desperate Love Stories” (Prop Thtr)

With her trademark giant 3-ring binder of tales, Roberta Miles holds unrepentant, unrelenting court, while being extremely at ease with her neuroses. She is a Chicago storytelling staple as required for proper residency as the red line, the Millennium Park Bean, or an expertly decked-out relish and sport pepper hot dog. And, speaking of hot dogs …

Roberta Miles opened her Prop Thtr “Scandalous” series with “I Want a Banana & Other Desperate Love Stories,” her years of sexual exploits brought to life. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes gut-wrenching, sometimes heartwarming, most of her true tales end up walking a fine-line  between all three. Let’s see, there’s the inexperienced man who’s got a motorcycle and an obsession with sculpting penises. There’s the repulsive man dead-set on giving her truly awful cunnilingus. There’s the woman, so perfect she may just be a figment brought about by the shame Miles feels about her own body, and many, many more.

She sounds off against feeling restricted by the confines of monogamy, about the mistreatment she’s given and received, about how difficult it is to be let down by your failing body. It’s an incredibly open and inviting set, and has the the sort of side effects you get from good therapy, acceptance and healing. Even the evening’s opener, poet Robin Fine brings body positivity, acceptance and healing to the room in what begins in a poetic admission of loving the feeling of dancing naked in her window, and ends in an invitation: “Wanna watch?”

Chicago has a wonderful undercurrent of powerful storytelling, and it’s due in no small part to the support Roberta Miles provides to performers (especially female performers). She hands the microphone over to anyone that wants to come forward with their own audacity, myself included. I am strictly incapable of seeing the work of Roberta Miles without those years of support and love working to bias me in her favor. So my advice to you: grab a seat, let down your guard, and be part of this woman’s magic.

DICE RATING: d12 –– “Heckuva Good Show”

TEN WORD SUMMARY: Choose your own storytelling adventure (warning: most will contain penises).

Show: “Scandalous: I Want a Banana & Other Desperate Love Stories, or Cracked: Surviving My Life”

Company: Prop Thtr

Venue:   Prop Thtr (3502 N Elston Ave)