Review: Hellcab (Profiles Theatre, 2013)

| November 16, 2013
Megan Hickey and Paul Dillon star in Profiles Theatre's "Hellcab" by Will Kern, directed by Darrell W. Cox. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        

Written by Will Kern 
Directed by Darrell W. Cox
Profiles Theatre, 4139 N. Broadway (map)
thru Jan 12  |  tickets: $35-$40   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review


Our favorite cab is back for the holidays!


Maryann Carlson and Paul Dillon in Profile Theatre's "Hellcab" by Will Kern, directed by Darrell W. Cox.

Profiles Theatre presents

Review by Patrick Dyer

Who says driving cabs is easy? That’s right, the hit one-act Hellcab is back for another run in the Windy City. And it’s always welcome. Both a tribute to all cab drivers who have to deal with crazy people all day and a little love letter to Chicago in general, playwright Will Kern’s Hellcab takes audiences for a ride through the city they won’t soon forget.

Paul Dillon in Profiles Theatre's "Hellcab" by Will Kern, directed by Darrell W. Cox. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)It’s Christmas Eve in Chicago, 1992. Our Driver (Paul Dillon) starts his shift at 6:30 in the morning, where he encounters an entire cast of thirty-plus characters throughout the whole day from a born-again couple on their way to church to a coke addict making multiple “stops” to a lawyer desperate for love to an outspoken racist to a drag queen with relationship problems. Kern gives us more than twenty stories and all of them are memorable with smart writing and plenty of surprises. In fact, Hellcab gives us a wide variety of emotions from suspenseful to humorous to shocking to bittersweet. Kern also makes the Driver a relatable and authentic protagonist to guide us through this day of hell. He even gives him some subtle character-based moments during some interludes where he’s all alone in the car talking to himself. But that would only work if you had a strong actor to play the role. And fortunately, director Darrell W. Cox has picked the right man for the job.

Dillon reprises his role (having played it in the original 1992 production) and brings the needed humanity to this character while also giving the show its funniest moments. Some of the best parts of the evening are just his reactions to the strange goings-on in the rearview mirror. And while he might be a bit old to play this role, he still slips into it with ease to the point where you don’t even notice his age by the end of the night. With a cast this big in such a small space, Cox manages to bring out the most from every single ensemble member in this brief 80-minute play. Some personal favorites of mine are Stephanie Monday as the lawyer looking for love, Manny Buckley as the drag queen trying to dump his abusive boyfriend, and Maryann Carlson as a friendly Christmas accordion player.

Mike Schiff, Manny Buckley and Paul Dillon in Hellcab, ProfilesProfiles Theatre's "Hellcab" by Will Kern, directed by Darrell W. Cox. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

While it might be a tad dated at times, and perhaps a bit too short, Hellcab still offers audiences this year a very different kind of holiday show. Rather than being overly sentimental, it’s realistic and relatable. Its familiarities will appeal to Chicagoans while still being accessible enough for anyone outside the Windy City. Poignant, funny, intense, clever, and above all genuine, Hellcab shows us the importance of human interaction and why you should always tip your cab drivers – you never know what they just went through before picking you up.

Rating: ★★★½

Hellcab continues through January 12th at Profiles Theatre’s Main Stage, 4139 N. Broadway  (map), with performances Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 5pm and 8pm, Sundays 7pm.  Tickets are $35-$40, and are available by phone (773-549-1815) or online through (check for half-price tickets at More info at time: 1 hour 10 minutes, no intermission)

Khalil Lesaldo, Joseph Moore III, Megan Hickey and Paul Dillon star in Profile Theatre's "Hellcab" by Will Kern, directed by Darrell W. Cox.

Photos by Michael Brosilow 




Paul Dillon (Driver), Dennis Bisto, Manny Buckley, Maryann Carlson, Chris Carr, Eric J. Ciak, Patrick Falcon, Alex Fisher, LJ Flora, Jeff Gamlin, Cary Jo Geer, Philena Gilmer, Desmond Gray, Megan Hickey, Khalil Lesaldo, Kaitlyn Majoy, Jack McCabe, Christopher McMorris, Stephanie Monday, Joseph W. Moore III, Todd Neal, Danielle Pinnock, Brennan Roche, Sarai Rodriguez, Brian Scannell, Mike Schiff, Sheridan Singleton, Aaron Spencer, Elise Spoerlein, Tara Tisch-Wallace, Richard Traub, Rachel Weeks, Regina Whitehead-Mays, Jonah Winston (Ensemble)

behind the scenes

Darrell W. Cox (director), Eric Burgher, Harmony France (assistant directors), Kaylie Honkala (stage manager), Jeffrey Levin (sound & original music), Shaun Renfro (set), Mike Durst (lighting), Raquel Adorno (costumes), Michael Brosilow (photos)

Brennan Roche, Dennis Bisto and Paul Dillon in Profiles Theatre's "Hellcab" by Will Kern, directed by Darrell W. Cox. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)



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Category: 2013 Reviews, Extensions-Remounts, Holiday Show, Patrick Dyer, Profiles Theatre

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