Tag: Chris Chmelik

Review: Lela & Co. (Steep Theatre)

Chris Chmelik and Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel star in Lela & Co., Steep Theatre (GG)            
      

Lela & Co.

Written by Cordelia Lynn
Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn (map)
thru Sept 16  |  tix: $25-$35  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

July 20, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Love Tapes (The Inconvenience)

Mary Williamson stars as Melinda in The Inconvenience's "Love Tapes" by Penn Jillette and Steven Banks, directed by Shade Murray. (photo credit: Ryan Bourque)       
      
Love Tapes

Written by Penn Jillette and Steven Banks
Directed by Shade Murray
at Angel Island, 735 W. Sheridan (map)
thru July 6  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
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June 20, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Motortown (Steep Theatre)

Alex Gillmor, Joel Reitsma and Kendra Thulin star in Steep Theatre's "Motortown" by Simon Stephens, directed by Robin Witt. (photo credit: Lee Miller)        
      
Motortown

Written by Simon Stephens  
Directed by Robin Witt
at Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn (map)
thru Nov 9  |  tickets: $20-$22   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

October 6, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Reverb (Redtwist Theatre)

Mary Williamson and Peter Oyloe star in Redtwist Theatre's "Reverb" by Leslye Headland, directed by Jonathan Berry. (photo credit: Jan Ellen Graves )

       
       
Reverb 

Written by Leslye Headland
Directed by Jonathan Berry 
at Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr (map)
thru Jun23 Jun 30  |  tickets: $25-$30  |  more info
       
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May 20, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Coriolanus (The Hypocrites)

Jude Roche and Steve O'Connell star in The Hypocrites' "Coriolanus" by William Shakespeare, directed and adapted by Geoff Button. (photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis)        
       
Coriolanus 

Written by William Shakespeare  
Directed by Geoff Button
at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division (map)
thru April 23  |  tickets: $28   |  more info
       
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March 11, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Spirits to Enforce (Abraham Werewolf at Studio BE)

Oliver Kendell is FRAGRANCE FELLOW in "Spirits to Enforce" by Mickle Maher, directed by Gus Menary.        
       
Spirits to Enforce 

Written by Mickle Maher  
Directed by Gus Menary
at Studio BE, 3110 N. Sheffield (map)
thru Sept 29  |  tickets: $5-$15   |  more info
       
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September 8, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Sea (Theatre Mir)

The Sea by Edward Bond - presented by Theatre Mir       
      
The Sea 

Written by Edward Bond 
Directed by Jonathan Berry 
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map)
thru April 15  |  tickets: $25   |  more info
       
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March 24, 2012 | 1 Comment More

REVIEW: The Earl (The Inconvenience)

  
  

Now extended through March 2nd!

Strange brotherly love in company’s inaugural production

 
 

The Inconvenience's 'The Earl' at A Red Orchid Theatre. Photo credit Ryan Borque.

  
The Inconvenience i/a/w A Red Orchid Theatre presents
      
The Earl
  
Written by Brett Neveu
Directed by
Duncan Riddell
at
A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells (map)
through Feb 23 March 2  |  tickets: $15  |  more info 

Reviewed by Dan E. Jakes

Edward Bond’s miscreants have some competition for Theatre’s Most Twisted Youngsters in Brett Neveu’s grisly dark comedy, The Earl.

The Inconvenience’s revival marks the ensemble’s first professional production and the play’s third presentation, following an independent film adaptation by Jim Sikora four years ago and A Red Orchid’s original six-month run in 2006. From the looks of it, The Earl’s blood is still pumping strong.

Danny Goldring, now starring in 'The Earl' by The Inconvenience at A Red Orchid Theatre.  Photo credit Ryan Borque.Strong, or at least bountiful, gushing from the limbs and noses of its characters and streaming down the walls of its set.

The story is straightforward: three brothers reunite in an abandoned basement office for a high stakes game of physical abuse. Think bloody knuckles, but the Olympic version, with faces and knees substituting for knuckles and crowbars substituting for quarters.

Why? Probably for the same reason children in school yards voluntarily play “wall ball” (the innocent title doesn’t imply the notorious “no-block crotch-shots rule“, does it?), or the more presumptive “smear the queer.” Who knows. The rules of the brothers’ contest are never made quite clear–there’s a lot of counting and letters and special exceptions–but it’s not for us to know the details, is it? As Artistic Director Christopher Chmelik puts it in his program note, “[There’s] no judging panel or officials with the final say. The brothers wrote the rule book,” and that book remains a secret. Sick as it may be, the in’s-and-out’s of the unnamed game are honored with a special family bond not extended to outside ranks.

So, when famous action star Lawrence Stephens (played with a nice blend of kitsch and menace by Danny Goldring) is invited to join the brawl, assuming the role of an “Earl,” the game takes a brutal turn for the unexpected.

Like any good thriller, Neveu’s text layers its release of information slowly and unpredictably. Director and A Red Orchid Literary Manager Duncan Riddell paces the action carefully. I didn’t want to see too much, but I couldn’t look away. It’s a ballet of watching and wincing. When violence does erupt, Fight Choreographers Chuck Coyle and Ryan Bourque don’t disappoint. Theatre isn’t the greatest outlet for action (at least in the “wham-bam” sense), so fight choreography typically amounts to aggressive dancing. With the help of a collaborative young cast, Riddell overcomes the form’s limitations and uses the full visual and aural spectrum to create an exhilarating illusion.

Danny Goldring and cast in The Inconvenience's 'The Earl' at A Red Orchid Theatre. Photo credit Erica Jaree.

It’s fair to say that The Earl has more balls than brains, but that’s not to say it‘s dumb. This is an impressive, quick-witted ensemble, and the young trio has built a fascinating, mostly unspoken family dynamic. Among the sadomasochistic clan is Ryan Borque (Kent), a gangly, giggly ball of tics. He’s the severest case of arrested development of the group, and brings an estranged, juvenile sense of joy to the chaos around him, even when injured. Bourque is captivating, remaining charismatic with a broken nose. Likewise, Walter Briggs (Peter) and Chris Chmelik (Rick) know their backgrounds and supply the given circumstances that raise the show above the level of wrestling match to bold work of theatre.

The Earl works as a one-act, but when the house lights came up for curtain call, I was hoping we were at intermission. The dramatic ground work and characterization are laid for a full-length play, and though the show is structurally complete, it did leave me wanting to see more story fleshed out. It originally ran as a late-night show, and likely works better with that mentality going in. But even at 8, it’s a thrilling little piece of pulp fiction. And for that, I’m game.

  
      
Rating: ★★★
         
     

Danny Goldring and cast in The Inconvenience's 'The Earl' at A Red Orchid Theatre. Photo credit Erica Jaree.

        
        
February 4, 2011 | 2 Comments More