Tag: Birgit Rattenborg Wise

Review: Objects in the Mirror (Goodman Theatre)

Daniel Kyri stars as Shedrick Yarkpai in Objects in a Mirror, Goodman Theatre           

Objects in the Mirror

Written by Charles Smith 
Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru June 4  |  tix: $20-$75  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

May 15, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Buzzer (Goodman Theatre)

Eric Lynch stars as Jackson in Goodman Theatre's "Buzzer" by Tracey Scott Wilson, directed by Jessica Thebus. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)        

Written by Tracey Scott Wilson
Directed by Jessica Thebus
at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru March 9  |  tickets: $10-$40   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

February 22, 2014 | 1 Comment More

Review: Pullman Porter Blues (Goodman Theatre)

Francis Guinan and Cleavant Derricks star in Goodman Theatre's "Pullman Porter Blues" by Cheryl L. West, directed by Chuck Smith. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)        
Pullman Porter Blues

Written by Cheryl L. West
Directed by Chuck Smith
Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru Oct 20 Oct 27  |  tickets: $25-$75   |  more info
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September 28, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Goodman Theatre)

Kara Zediker and Tamberla Perry star in Goodman Theatre's "By the Way, Meet Vera Stark" by Lynn Nottage, directed by Chuck Smith. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)        
By the Way,
    Meet Vera Stark

Written by Lynn Nottage  
Directed by Chuck Smith
at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru June 2  |  tickets: $25-$81   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

May 15, 2013 | 2 Comments More

Review: Race (Goodman Theatre)

Henry Brown (Geoffrey Owens) phones for more information on his potential client in the Chicago premiere of "Race" by David Mamet, directed by Chuck Smith. (photo credit: Eric Y. Exit)       

Written by David Mamet  
Directed by Chuck Smith
at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru Feb 19  |  tickets: $25-$94   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
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January 24, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Red (Goodman Theatre)

Edward Gero as Mark Rothko - Red at Goodman Theatre

Written by John Logan
Directed by Robert Falls 
at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru Oct 30  |  tickets: $25-$84  |  more info

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September 30, 2011 | 1 Comment More

Review: God of Carnage (Goodman Theatre)


‘God of Carnage’, worthy of worship?


(l to r) Alan (David Pasquesi) tries to comfort his wife Annette (Beth Lacke) as Veronica (Mary Beth Fisher) continues to discuss the argument between their two children. Photo credit Eric Y. Exit

Goodman Theatre presents
God of Carnage
Written by Yasmina Reza
Directed by Rick Snyder
Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
through April 17  |  tickets: $22-$90  |  more info

Reviewed by Barry Eitel

Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage must be a producer’s wet dream—four actors, one set, and a run time less than 90 minutes. Plus, it’s hyper-relevant to upper-middle class urban professionals. The overall vibe is very similar to Reza’s Art, especially in skewering yuppie lifestyles. It all worked out very well for the Goodman, which snagged the Midwest premier after the Broadway debut won a bevy of Tonys and Broadway in Chicago dropped it from its season. With all the encapsulating hype, Reza’s tight little play (translated and Veronica (Mary Beth Fisher) is horrified as her civil get together turns into chaotic mayhem. Photo credit: Eric Y. Exittweaked for American audiences by Christopher Hampton) is sure to get some butts in the Goodman’s seats. And the production lives up to the hoopla, even though no one in the cast has the national name recognition as Jeff Daniels or James Gandolfini.

The idea Reza plays around with in her play is whether adults and children are really that different, especially when it comes to scuffling. One child whacks another in the face with a stick, knocking out a couple of teeth. We see the obligatory meeting of parents sans children. From the beginning, there’s the awkward conflict between parenting techniques. Add to that the fact that maybe no party is innocent. Of course, things quickly spiral out of control.

To direct this darkly hilarious piece, the Goodman selected Rick Snyder, the same who directed a terrific production of Art at Steppenwolf a couple of seasons back. His experience with Reza shows—he allows his cast to push the humor just enough before becoming too ridiculous.

In the end, God of Carnage is an actors’ show. The New York folks got that when they brought in Gandolfini, Daniels, Marcia Gay Harden, and Hope Davis. Snyder cast his own set of Chicago stage heavyweights: Mary Beth Fisher, Beth Lacke, David Pasquesi, and Keith Kupferer. The foursome has a great thrust and parry with each other—and this is a play where alliances constantly shift and no one is on any one else’s side for very long (even if they’re married to them).

Pasquesi is Alan, a high-profile corporate lawyer, and is married to Annette (Lacke). She’s bothered by his love affair with his Blackberry. The hosts, Veronica (Fisher) and Michael (Kupferer, in the role originated by Gandolfini), are victim to their own neurosis. Veronica writes books about far-away conflicts and buys books about art; Michael sells doorknobs (among other things) and recently tossed the family hamster out on the street. Things really pick up when the liquor starts flowing, a la Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Really, you end up feeling sorry for the unseen children most of all.

Unfortunately, it seems like Snyder holds back, which is the show’s biggest shortcoming. There could be more chaos. I was also hoping for more rolling-on-the-floor laughing moments. The Monday night opening came off as a little Monday-ish. Even in the craziest instants, when things are thrown around or thrown up—the play is a bit unsatisfying. The cast needs to be all-in all the time.

God of Carnage succeeds because it nails the savagery that we all understand. Reza posits that there may not be much of a difference between parks infested with roving gangs of kids or Brooklyn living rooms with cups of espresso and imported rum. She digs under the veneer of modern civilization, and even Veronica, modern civilization’s biggest champion, can’t prevent her passions from slipping out. To insult and question how a person raises their kids is asking for strong responses. But Reza, Snyder, and the cast commit fully to this explosive scenario, and we get to enjoy the fireworks.

Rating: ★★★

(l to r) Michael (Keith Kupferer) tries to rationalize the situation while speaking to Alan (David Pasquesi) Annette (Beth Lacke) and Veronica (Mary Beth Fisher). Photo credit: Eric Y. Exit

March 19, 2011 | 1 Comment More