Tag: Lindsey Lyddan

Review: The Gin Game (Drury Lane Theatre)

John Reeger and Paula Scrofano star as Weller Marting and Fonsia Dorsey in The Gin Game, Drury Lane Theatre           
         

   

The Gin Game

Written by D. L. Coburn
Drury Lane Theatre, Oakbrook Terrace (map)
thru Aug 13  |  tix: $42-$57  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

July 4, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Chicago the Musical (Drury Lane Theatre)

E. Faye Butler stars as Matron Mama Morton in Chicago, Drury Lane Theatre           
        

Chicago
   
John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics, book)
   and Bob Fosse (book)
Drury Lane Theatre, Oakbrook Terrace (map)
thru June 18  |  tix: $40-$60  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

May 20, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Straight White Men (Steppenwolf Theatre)

Madison Dirks and Ryan Hallahan star as Jake and Drew in Straight White Men, Steppenwolf           
      
  

Straight White Men

Written by Young Jean Lee
Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted (map)
thru Mar 19 Mar 26  tix: $20-$89  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

March 7, 2017 | 1 Comment More

Review: The Fundamentals (Steppenwolf Theatre)

Alana Arenas and Audrey Francis star as Millie and Eliza in The Fundamentals, Steppenwolf Theatre             
  

The Fundamentals

Written by Erika Sheffer  
Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted (map)
thru Dec 31  |  tix: $20-$89  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

November 21, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Exonerated (Next Theatre & NU’s Theatre and Interpretation Center)

Michael Henry stars in Next Theatre and Theatre and Interpretation Center's "The Exonerated" by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, directed by Cat Miller.  (photo credit: Justin Barbin)        
       
The Exonerated 

Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen
Directed by Cat Miller
at Northwestern University, Evanston (map)
thru May 5  |  tickets: $10-$25   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review 
     

April 25, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Kokandy Productions)

Danni Smith as Betty, in Kokandy Productions' "The Great American Trailer Park Musical", directed by John D. Glover. (photo credit: Joshua Albanese)        
       
The Great American
        Trailer Park Musical
 

Music and Lyrics by David Nehls
Book by Betsy Kelso
Directed by John D. Glover
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map)
thru Aug 26  |  tickets: $30   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

August 6, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Double (Babes With Blades Theatre)

     
Gillian N. Humiston as Minnie Sparks and Kimberly Logan as Olivia Wood in Babes With Blades' production of "The Double," by Barbara Lhota (Photo by Steve Townshend) The Double 

Written by Barbara Lhota
Directed by Leigh Barrett
Lincoln Square Theatre, 4754 N. Leavitt (map)
thru Sept 24  |   tickets: $8-$25   |   more info

Check for half-price tickets

         Read entire review

     
August 21, 2011 | 2 Comments More

Review: Big Love (Chicago Fusion Theatre)

  
  

Ambition exceeds preparation in wedding dark-comedy

  
  

Jamie Bragg and Marcus Davis in Chicago Fusion Theatre's "Big Love" by Charles Mee

     
Chicago Fusion Theatre presents
   
   
Big Love
  
Written by Charles Mee
Directed by Nilsa Reyna
at Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted (map)
through June 25  |  tickets: $25  |  more info

Reviewed by Dan Jakes

Tackling a work by contemporary mosaic playwright Charles Mee requires aiming high. By design, Mee’s scripts are better described as blueprints than directives. His stage directions pose particularly unique challenges for production directors; some are broad and flexible, while others are comically specific, often with a blatant disregard for economy:

“…and, of all the brides and grooms, some are/ burning themselves with cigarettes/lighting their hands on fire and standing with their hands burning/ throwing plates and smashing them/ throwing kitchen knives/ taking huge bites of food/ and having to spit it out at once, vomiting…”

Stack commands like that on top of hefty themes and purposefully jarring in-play styles, and one can imagine why so many young artists are drawn to Mee’s work. The challenge his shows present offer unique opportunities for exciting, meaningful, fiercely entertaining theater.

Carla Alegre Harrison in Chicago Fusion Theatre's "Big Love" by Charles MeeIf the actors have their lines memorized, that is. Director Nilsa Reyna’s production demonstrates a worthy vision, but his hindered in practice by jumbled dialogue, meandering actor-intentions, and hit-or-miss execution.

Adapted from The Suppliants by Aeschylus, Big Love follows 50 Greek women’s journey for refuge from a family arrangement forcing incestuous marriage upon them to their cousins. Having escaped by ship, three would-be brides (Carla Alegre, Jamie Bragg and Kate LoConti) seek shelter in an Italian mansion, owned by wealthy Piero (Todd Michael Kiech, inexplicably cast as a man of persuasion–Kiech exhibits the charisma of a robot wearing an ascot). Soon after, intended husbands Patrick King, Marcus Davis and John Taflan (ideal as the entitled, handsome, bratty, machismo-saturated Constantine) discover their fiancés’ hiding-spot and follow pursuit. Mee’s play jumps back and forth between Aeschylus’ narrative and broader musings on love, duty, and gender.

Royal George Theatre’s teeny upstairs studio serves as the playing space for Mee’s large-scale show. Nick Sieben’s smart, functional thrust set makes ideal use of the black box’s shortcomings. Concrete slabs, a soaking tub, pink ribbon, and a flower-installation create an ambiance that performs double-duty satisfying the play’s realistic and ethereal sensibilities. It’s one indication of a clear vision behind the show–another is David Mitchell as the curly Q’d, flaming nephew. Mitchell’s heightened acting meshes with text’s abstract style in a way that even when, out of the blue, he dips into a bath and sings a show tune, the moment is touching instead of hackneyed or contrived. Kate LoConti too makes hard-to-digest character traits easy to swallow.

     
(from top) John Taflan as Constantine, Marcus Davis as Oed, Pat King as Nikos in Chicago Fusion Theatre's "Big Love" by Charles Mee (from left) Carla Alegre-Harrison as Lydia, Jamie Bragg as Thyona, and Kate LoConti as Olympia

The rest of the show fares less well. Too many scenes are burdened by actors not seeming to be invested in the same moments, and emotional highpoints reading as stilted and clunky. Here, Fusion can’t quite merge Mee’s tangential ideas with a convincing story.

There‘s a reason so many plays end with a wedding; for better or for worse, they’re inherently dramatic. When even one that ends in a murder-orgy is tedious, the chemistry is off.

  
  
Rating: ★★½
  
  

 David Wesley Mitchell, Lisa Siciliano, Todd Kiech in Chicago Fusion Theatre's "Big Love" by Charles Mee

 

May 22, 2011 | 0 Comments More