Tag: Helen Young

Review: The Audience (TimeLine Theatre)

Janet Ulrich Brooks and Audrey Edwards star as Queen Elizabeth and Young Elizabeth             


The Audience

Written by Peter Morgan
TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington (map)
thru Nov 12 Dec 3  |  tix: $40-$54  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

August 28, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Caught (Sideshow Theatre)

Ben Chang, Ann James and Bob Kruse in Caught by Christopher Chen, Sideshow Theatre          


Written by Christopher Chen 
at Richard Christiansen Theater
  2433 N. Lincoln Ave. (map)
thru July 3  |  tix: $20-$30  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

June 7, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Hamlet (Muse of Fire Theatre)

Alex Fthenakis stars as Hamlet in Muse of Fire Theatre's "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare, directed by Jemma Alix Levy. (photo credit: Teresa Foote)   


Written by William Shakespeare 
Ingraham Park, 2100 Ridge (map)
thru Aug 30  |  free  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets         


August 11, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: Macbeth (Polarity Ensemble Theatre)

Krystal Mosley stars in Polarity Ensemble Theatre's "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare, directed and adapted by Richard Engling.        

Written by William Shakespeare  
Adapted and Directed by Richard Engling 
at Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln (map)
thru March 2  |  tickets: $10-$20   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

February 7, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Beaten (The Artistic Home)

Kristin Collins stars as Madelyn in the world premiere of The Artistic Home's "Beaten" by Scott Woldman, directed by Katherine Swan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi)        

Written by Scott Woldman  
Directed by Katherine Swan
at The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand (map)
thru Aug 11  |  tickets: $28-$32   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

July 12, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: My Asian Mom (A-Squared Theatre Workshop)

A scene from "Eight Turkey Sandwiches" by Mia Park. (photo credit:  Mari Ortiz-Shoda)       
My Asian Mom 

Conceived by Mia Park 
at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee (map)
thru May 26 July 7 tickets: $15   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

May 5, 2012 | 3 Comments More

Review: Family Devotions (Halcyon Theatre)

Mia Park and Arvin Jalandoon in Family Devotions - Photo by To_0006
Family Devotions

Written by David Henry Hwang 
Directed by Jenn Adams
Greenhouse Thtr Center, 2257 N. Lincoln (map)
thru Sept 4  | tickets: $18-$25  | more info

Check for half-price tickets

      Read entire review

August 13, 2011 | 1 Comment More

Review: The Cherry Orchard (Raven Theatre)


Spastic antics level Raven’s ‘Cherry Orchard’


A dance in The Apple Orchard - Raven Theatre

Raven Theatre presents
The Cherry Orchard
Written by Anton Chekhov
Directed by Michael Menendian
at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark (map)
through July 23  |  tickets: $30  |  more info

Reviewed by Dan Jakes

Chekhov and Shakespeare frequently find themselves paired together in the same sentences, and for good reason. Look at their respective repertoires, and you’ll notice striking similarities: both writers layer styles, open-ended philosophical questions, tones, and character intentions, often in the same scenes. No two playwrights in theater history achieve more poignant insights into how people interact and tick; look no further for bodies of work that lend themselves to unique visions and interpretations. The Cherry Orchard–a work as melancholy as it is hilarious–calls out for inspired readings that highlight different aspects of the text.

A scene from Raven Theatre's "The Apple Orchard" by Anton Chekhov. (photo: Dean LaPrairie)Staging a play that’s so full of details, it’s a mystery why Raven Theatre Artistic Director Michael Menendian insists on a mad-cap, sketch comedy-inspired, thin-skinned production. By sketch, by the way, I don’t mean SNL–think something along the loud, grating lines of MAD TV.

The Cherry Orchard is indeed a comedy, but bumbling cannot substitute substance (Fernando S. Albiar aught to consider athletic gear for the all the time he spends flailing and falling as Yeikhodov). Chekhov’s story about a family’s inability to accept its fall from grace detours from traditional comedic conventions. Most comedies portray a collective character perception of high stakes in low-stake situations; Chekhov’s doomed romantics and spendthrifts suffer from the opposite and don’t take their imminent situation seriously enough. Raven’s production chooses neither, abandoning emotional authenticity in favor of outsize gestures and broad physical jokes. Even straight man Lopakhin (Frederick Harris)–The Cherry Orchard’s Michael Bluth–is subject the over-the-top, surface-skimming character choices. Here, necessary tragic elements gets steamrolled. Like a light switch, Varya (Helen Young) clicks instantly on and off, sobbing like an infant for humor one moment and then standing inexplicably content the next. The play’s philosophical speeches, which are usually uttered aloud with intentional ambiguity, are delivered stand-up soliloquy style to the audience. It’s as if Menendian is going out of his way to make sure we don’t feel anything, unaware that when the drama dies, so goes the levity.

A scene from Raven Theatre's "The Apple Orchard" by Anton Chekhov. (photo: Dean LaPrairie) A scene from Raven Theatre's "The Apple Orchard" by Anton Chekhov. (photo: Dean LaPrairie)

Already hindered conceptually by an over-simple interpretation, Raven’s production is marred by basic production elements. The preview performance I attended featured confused staging and stilted action–issues that aren’t commonly solved by another few runs. As Ranevskaya and Trofimov, Joann Montemurro and Michael Peters provide some heart to the otherwise shallow production. In that respect, they’re alone. If the rest of the family doesn’t really seem to care, why should we?

Rating: ★½

A scene from Raven Theatre's "The Apple Orchard" by Anton Chekhov. (photo: Dean LaPrairie)

The Cherry Orchard continues through July 23rd, with performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. Performances take place at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark (map).  Tickets are $30, and can be purchased by phone (box office: 773-338-2177) or online at TicketTurtle. Free parking is provided in a lot adjacent to the theatre; additional street parking is available. For more information, visit raventheatre.com.


June 9, 2011 | 1 Comment More