Tag: David Weiss

Review: At the Table (Broken Nose Theatre)

Johnard Washington, Echaka Agba and David Weiss star in At the Table, Broken Nose Theatre            
      

  

At the Table

Written by Michael Perlman 
The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee (map)
thru Aug 26  |  pay-what-you-can  |  more info   
     

August 9, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Merge (The New Colony)

Lindsey Pearlman, Wes Needham, Omer Abbas Salem and Kevin Stangler in Merge, The New Colony           
      
  

Merge 

Written by Spenser Davis 
at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee (map)
thru Nov 13  |  tix: $20  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

October 15, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: From White Plains (Broken Nose Theatre)

Ben Burke and David Weiss in Broken Nose Theatre's "From White Plains" by Michael Perlman, directed by Spenser Davis. (photo credit: Charlie Ray Bressler)        
      
From White Plains

Written by Michael Perlman 
    i/a/w Craig Wesley Divino, Karl Gregory,
    Jimmy King and Aaron Rossini 
Directed by Spenser Davis
at Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln (map)
thru Feb 23  |  tickets: $15-$25   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

February 7, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Xylophone West (The Fine Print Theatre)

Donnie Sheldon and cast in a scene from Fine Print Theatre's "The Xylophone West", by Alex Lubischer. (photo credit: Gretchen Kelley)       
      
The Xylophone West 

Written by Alex Lubischer  
Directed by Josh Sobel
at Red Tape Theatre, 621 W. Belmont (map)
thru April 4  |  tickets: $20-$25   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

March 17, 2012 | 1 Comment More

Review: Hamlet (Oracle Productions)

     
Hamlet logo - Oracle Productions
Hamlet

Written by William Shakespeare 
Directed by Benno Nelson
at Oracle Theatre, 3809 N. Broadway (map)
thru August 11  |  tickets: pay-what-you-can   more info

Check for half-price tickets

      Read entire review

     

July 20, 2011 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: The Lady’s Not For Burning (Theo-Ubique)

Eloquent Period Piece Is an Endurance Test

 

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Theo-Ubique Cabaret Theatre presents
  
The Lady’s Not For Burning
   
Written by Christopher Fry
Directed by
Fred Anzevino
at
No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood (map)
through October 31  |  tickets: $25  |  more info

Reviewed by Keith Ecker

Watching Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre’s production of The Lady’s Not for Burning is like a marathon for your mind. For a comedy, the play is incredibly dense. Written in Shakespearean-style prose, the language is beautifully ornate at times while confusingly verbose at others. The whole thing in the end feels like a riddle, a riddle that goes on and on for two-and-a-half hours.

Ladys Not For Burning - Theo Ubique 9 It is this length that serves as the production’s greatest hindrance. The cast is confident and spot on with their comedic timing. The staging is economic given the awkwardly shaped theater space. You would think that such skillful acting and direction would be able to sustain a play. And although The Lady’s Not for Burning charges out of the gate, it eventually loses steam and limps its way to its conclusion.

Written by Christopher Fry in 1948, the play takes place in the Middle Ages, incorporating period style dress and speech. As Arthur Miller would later do with The Crucible, Fry touches on themes relevant to post-World War II society, including the Red Scare. However, unlike The Crucible, The Lady’s Not for Burning is a comedy, and so it uses satire to address these heavy social issues. Unfortunately, the language and plot are so heavy themselves that these social commentaries get lost within the thick of the play.

To simplify it as much as possible, the play is about a soldier (Layne Manzer) who encourages the mayor (J. Preddie Predmore) to execute him by hanging. Conversely, there is an alleged witch (Jenny Lamb) who wants to live. The two have long conversations about their predicaments, which leads to a blossoming love.

There is of course much more to the story than this. Why else would it stretch on for so long? The problem is the other elements of the story are inconsequential. In fact, it’s unclear as to what purpose the other characters serve other than to occupy space and battle wits with one another for humor’s sake.

And humor is the highlight of the play. Even if the piece becomes crushed under its own weight, the humor adds some much-needed levity.

As mentioned, the acting is superb. Predmore plays the mayor with a wonderful mix of overconfidence and idiocy. Manzer embodies the soldier’s sardonic personality, and Drew Longo, as both the depressed chaplain and the town drunk, proves himself to be a dynamic actor and effective clown.

 

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Director Fred Anzevino, who is also the artistic director of Theo Ubique, characterizes The Lady’s Not for Burning as a musical without song or music. While I can understand the sentiment behind the statement, the play is more akin to an epic poem, emphasis on the epic. There is no denying that there is some fine writing here. The descriptions are clever and unique. The imagery painted through Fry’s words is vibrant. But unfortunately, it is this same diction that serves to disconnect the audience from the play. While interesting sentence structure, word choice and figurative language may be pleasant, coherency should be the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, the writing at times impedes understanding.

I’m not sure what instrument from the director’s toolbox could have been employed to help this play. There is little to no downtime between scenes, so there isn’t much that can be whittled away to shorten the piece. In the end, there’s a lot of talent at work here, and there is a lot of potential in the commentary, especially in the play’s first half. But as we stretch into the third act, our patience is tested, and we begin watching our watches rather than the stage.

   
  
Rating: ★★½
  
  

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September 22, 2010 | 1 Comment More