Tag: First Folio Theatre

Review: Captain Blood (First Folio Theatre)

Nick Sandys, Heather Chrisler and Austin England star in Captain Blood, First Folio           

Captain Blood

Adapted by David Rice
  from novel by Rafael Sabatini
First Folio Theatre, Oak Brook (map)
thru Feb 26  |  tix: $29-$39  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

February 18, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Fooling Buddha (First Folio Theatre)

David Kovac stars in First Folio Theatre's Fooling Buddha          
Fooling Buddha

Created & Performed by David Kovac
Developed  & Directed by Patrick New
First Folio Theatre, Oak Brook (map)
thru Apr 24  |  tix: $25-$49   |  more info 
Half price tickets available   

April 5, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Jeeves Takes a Bow (First Folio Theatre)

Jim McCance and Christian Gray star in First Folio Theatre's "Jeeves Takes a Bow" by Margaret Raether, directed by Alison C. Vesely. (photo credit: Stefani Foster LaBrecque)        
Jeeves Takes a Bow 

Written by Margaret Raether
Directed by Alison C. Vesely
Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oak Brook (map)
thru March 3  |  tickets: $26-$37   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

February 8, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe – A Love Story (First Folio)

Diane Mair as Virginia and Christian Gray as Edgar Allan Poe, in First Folio Theatre's "The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story" by David Rice, directed by Michael Goldberg.  (photo credit: David Rice)        
Madness of Edgar Allan Poe:
         A Love Story

Written by David Rice
Directed by Michael Goldberg
Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oak Brook (map)
thru Nov 4  |  tickets: $26-$37   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

October 8, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Merchant of Venice (First Folio Theatre)

Luke Daigle as Lorenzo and Cassidy Stirtz as Portia, in First Folio Theatre's "The Merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare, directed by Alison C. Vesely. (photo credit: David Rice)        
The Merchant of Venice 

Written by William Shakespeare 
Directed by Alison C. Vesely
at Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oakbrook (map)
thru Aug 19  |  tickets: $26-$37   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

July 18, 2012 | 1 Comment More

Review: Unnecessary Farce (First Folio Theatre)

Joe Foust and Erin Noel Grennan - Unnecessary Farce, First Folio       
Unnecessary Farce 

Written by Paul Slade Smith
Directed by Alison C. Vesely  
Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oakbrook (map)
thru March 4  |  tickets: $30-$37   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

February 12, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Romeo and Juliet (First Folio Theatre)

Kelsey Brennan, Will Allan - Romeo and Juliet Romeo and Juliet

Written by William Shakespeare  
Directed by Nick Sandys

Mayslake Peabody Estate
, Oakbrook (map)
thru Aug 7  |
tickets: $29-$35   |  more info

Check for half-price tickets

      Read entire review


July 9, 2011 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: Jeeves in Bloom (First Folio)

Overblown ‘Jeeves in Bloom’ grows on you


First Folio Theatre presents:

Jeeves in Bloom

By Margaret Raether
Based on the characters of
P.G. Wodehouse
Directed by
Alison C. Vesely
At the
Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oak Brook
Through Feb. 28 (more info)

Reviewed by Leah A. Zeldes

In the opening scene of First Folio Theatre’s Jeeves in Bloom, the characters pursue each other around the garden set in a goofy, stylized chase scene so exaggerated it made me want to run out of the theater. The broad, affected campiness Director Alison C. Vesely has imposed on this Equity production really put me off at first, but after a while, the show began to grow on me.

Margaret Raether’s script does P.G. Wodehouse proud. Loosely grafted and considerably pruned from the British author’s 1922 comic novel “Right Ho, Jeeves,” and light as dandelion fluff, this Chicagoland comedy premiere revolves around the amiable but asinine Bertie Wooster, a London man about town, and his keen-witted  gentleman’s gentleman, Jeeves. Bertie’s old school-chum Gussie Fink-Nottle, a painfully tongue-tied nerd with a passion for newts, has unaccountably fallen in love jib3with a dippy debutante called Madeline Bassett, a sappily romantic girl who believes in fairies, and appealed to Bertie and Jeeves for advice on wooing her. Meanwhile, Bertie’s intrepid Aunt Dahlia enlists the duo’s aid in stealing her own diamonds as a means of hiding her gambling losses from her irascible and dyspeptic husband, Tom Travers. However, their schemes inadvertently entwine Bertie with Madeline and touch off the Travers’ volatile French chef, Anatole, with disastrous consequences for Tom’s digestion. (James Leaming doubles as the bluff Tom Travers and excitable Anatole so ably that I didn’t realize he wasn’t two actors until only one of him turned up for ovations.)

Kevin McKillip’s portrayal of Gussie Fink-Nottle really won me over. As he moaned, “If only I were a male newt!” and bodily demonstrated the mating habits of the minute amphibians, I twigged to the value of the histrionic approach. McKillip’s expressive face and physical comedy constantly delight.

Christian Gray’s hammed-up rendition of Bertie takes some getting used to. With McKillip, Leaming and Melanie Keller as Madeline all chewing the scenery, one would think Bertie could be more understated. When he’s not spitting chunks of backdrop, Gray comes off admirably Woosterian. And my reaction to his over-the-top mugging is perhaps not entirely Gray’s or the director’s fault.

Chicago-area Wodehouse lovers must be forgiven if the vision of Bertie and Jeeves imprinted indelibly on our brains is that of Mark Richard and the late Page Hearn, who played those roles with brilliantly nuanced humor over some nine years at City Lit Theatre. They’re a tough act to follow.


Jim McCance, in what seems like a rather small role for the title character, presents an older, stouter and stiffer Jeeves than Hearn’s (or the image drawn in the iconic Penguin paperbacks by Ionicus), but his deadpan tone and facial expressions are impeccable.

However, the real stars of this production are McKillip and Jeannie Affelder as Aunt Dahlia. Although I always picture Dahlia as an Englishwoman of the large, horsey and hearty type, the diminutive Affelder dominates the stage in a smart and subtly comic performance.

Everything about this production shows an attention to detail, from Elsa Hiltner’s period costumes to the stage properties. Scenic Designer Angela Miller has beautifully integrated a garden terrace into the high-ceiling event hall of the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate, complete with working fountain, statuary and realistic plants.

So, by the time that thorny opening chase scene was reprised at the end of the first act, I could take it without wincing.

Though more of an overblown rose than a tight bud of comedy, “Jeeves in Bloom” is a fun and enjoyable show.

Rating: ★★★

Note: The performance is 2½ hours, with intermission.


February 2, 2010 | 0 Comments More