Tag: Jennifer Engstrom

Review: Hir (Steppenwolf Theatre)

Francis Guinan stars as Arnold in Hir, Steppenwolf Theatre            
      

  

Hir

Written by Taylor Mac
Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted (map)
thru Aug 20  |  tix: $20-$89  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

July 19, 2017 | 1 Comment More

Review: 3C (A Red Orchid Theatre)

Sigrid Sutter, Christina Gorman, Jennifer Engstrom, Nick Mikula and Lawrence Grimm           
      
  

3C

Written by David Adjmi
A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells (map)
thru June 4  |  tix: $30-$35  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

May 1, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Simpatico (A Red Orchid Theatre)

Michael Shannon and Guy Van Swearingen star in A Red Orchid Theatre's "Simpatico" by Sam Shepard, directed by Dado. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
       
Simpatico 

Written by Sam Shepard 
Directed by Dado 
A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells (map)
thru Aug 25  Sept 15  |  tickets: $45   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

July 14, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Sweet Bird of Youth (Goodman Theatre)

Finn Wittrock (Chance Wayne) and Diane Lane (Princess Kosmonopolis) star in Goodman Theatre's "Sweet Bird of Youth" by Tennessee Williams, directed by David Cromer. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)        
       
Sweet Bird of Youth 

Written by Tennessee Williams 
Directed by David Cromer 
at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru Oct 28  |  tickets: $27-$88   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
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September 24, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Becky Shaw (A Red Orchid Theatre)

     
Mierka Girten as Becky Shaw - A Red Orchid Theatre
Becky Shaw
 

Written by Gina Gionfriddo 
Directed by Damon Kiely  
A Red Orchid Theatre, 1513 N. Wells (map)
thru Nov 6 Nov 20  tickets: $30  |  more info

Check for half-price tickets
   
     
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October 4, 2011 | 1 Comment More

Review: Becky Shaw (A Red Orchid Theatre)

     
Mierka Girten as Becky Shaw - A Red Orchid Theatre
Becky Shaw
 

Written by Gina Gionfriddo 
Directed by Damon Kiely  
A Red Orchid Theatre, 1513 N. Wells (map)
thru Nov 6   |  tickets: $25-$30  |  more info

Check for half-price tickets
   
     
        Read entire review

     
October 4, 2011 | 1 Comment More

Review: TimeLine Theatre’s “When She Danced”

 TimeLine crafts a superb production from a flawed script

When She Danced at TimeLine Theatre

TimeLine Theatre presents:

When She Danced

by Martin Sherman
directed by Nick Bowling
thru December 20th (ticket info)

reviewed by Catey Sullivan

Like its depiction of the Isadora Duncan’s life, When She Danced is a glorious, extravagant mess. Amid a cacophony of languages, lobster, lovers and champagne Timeline creates something that’s both richly entertaining and immensely frustrating with Martin Sherman’s portrait of the mother of modern dance.

"When She Danced" at TimeLine Theatre We know La Duncan (who was called such when the article really meant something, unlike today’s trashy La Lohan vernacular) redefined an entire art form. But because film of her dancing is rare unto non-existent, we can only imagine the extraordinary aura of grace and beauty she projected while in motion, inspiring thousands of barefoot disciples the globe over. That very legacy all but ensures that any portrait of Duncan will fall short. Have an actress attempt to dance like Duncan and they will inevitably suffer by comparison. Leave the dancing out, and you lose the essence of the woman’s existence.

Sherman takes the safer route, leaving the dance completely to his audience’s imagination. Rather than choreography, we get rapt exposition by Duncan’s slavishly devoted household coterie. And of course, the lack of a visual is a problem: because we never see Duncan dance, her art – or the lack thereof – becomes the 800-pound gorilla on the set. Dance is the thing that defines not only Duncan, but every relationship and reaction to her. Without it, those relationships and reactions ring a bit hollow. For those who crave a glimpse at the movement that made the legend, When She Danced is a tease. We hear all about the sheer, life-changing fabulousness of Duncan’s dancing, but we never see it.

That said, director Nick Bowling has crafted an immensely watchable and lavishly beautiful production. We meet Isadora (Jennifer Engstrom) in her 40s. She claims to be past her prime, but in Engstrom’s alternately regal and unabashedly sensual performance, Duncan is every inch magnificent. Her Paris flat is in a state of exuberant and sophisticated chaos. Among the larger-than-life personalities coming and going: Duncan’s much younger Russian husband Sergei (Patrick Mulvey), gleefully capturing an unstable firebrand with little but sex and suicide on the brain); Alexandros Eliopolos, an adoring 19-year-old Greek prodigy pianist (Alejandro Cordoba, a major talent who delivers a concert-level Chopin etude midway through the production); and Miss Hanna Belzer (Janet Ulrich Brooks), a Russian translator whose underwritten role nonetheless becomes an emotional cornerstone thanks to Brooks’ quietly galvanizing performance.

"When She Danced" at TimeLine Theatre when-she-danced-2

The languages – Greek, Russian, English French and Italian – fly fast and thick with several in the ensemble never speaking a word of English. Bowling succeeds in making dialogue flow like music. And it’s to the cast’s great credit that even when the words are foreign, the meaning within them shines through.

It’s a shame that all these wonderfully idiosyncratic, effectively etched characters are stuck in a plot that’s rather static. Duncan’s desperate need for money provides the slight arc. The story peaks with a marvelously unconventional fund-raising dinner party that devolves into a rapturous, multi-lingual food fight. But once the rolls stop flying, Sherman doesn’t seem to know what to do with everyone other than have them fade slowly into a blackout.

In all, Bowling has crafted a superb production from a flawed script. It helps that When She Danced looks wonderful, thanks to Keith Pitts at once elegant, impoverished and richly beautiful Parisian flat. Seth E. Reinick’s evocative lighting beautifully emphasizes monologues by Brooks and Cordoba that come almost as close to portraying Duncan’s brilliance as any actual dancing might. Almost.

When She Danced continues through Dec. 20 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington. Tickets are $25 and $35. For more information, call 773/281-8463 or go to www.timelinetheatre.com

Rating: ★★½

 

November 13, 2009 | 0 Comments More