Tag: Mandy Walsh

Review: Fight City (Factory Theater)

Kim Boler stars as Erica Burdon in Fight City, Factory Theater            
  

         

Fight City
   
Written by Scott OKen
Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard (map)
thru Aug 26  |  tix: $25  |  more info    
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

July 29, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Miss Holmes (Lifeline Theatre)

Katie McLean Hainsworth, Mandy Walsh and Christopher W. Jones in Miss Holmes, Lifeline Theatre           
      
  

Miss Holmes

Written by Christopher M. Walsh
Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood (map)
thru Nov 27  |  tix: $30-$40  |  more info 
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

October 1, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Monstrous Regiment (Lifeline Theatre)

Matt Engle and Sarah Price star in Lifeline Theatre's "Monstrous Regiment," adapted by Chris Hainsworth, directed by Kevin Theis. (photo credit: Kelsey Jorissen)        
      
Monstrous Regiment

Adapted by Chris Hainsworth  
Directed by Kevin Theis
at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood (map)
thru July 20  |  tickets: $20-$40   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

June 17, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review – Street Justice: Condition Red (Factory Theater)

Anthony Tournis and Colin Milroy star in Factory Theater's world premiere of "Street Justice: Condition Red," directed by Mike Ooi.        
      
Street Justice:
       Condition Red

Written by Anthony Touris and Colin Milroy  
Directed by Mike Ooi
at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston (map)
thru Dec 14  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

November 14, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Gjenganger (Akvavit Theatre)

Corey Nobel and Bergen Anderson star in Akvavit Theatre's "Gjenganger" by Joe Fosse, directed by Wm. Bullion, Breahan Eve Pautsch and Paul S. Holmquist. (photo credit: Sooz Main)        
       
Gjenganger 

Written by Jon Fosse
Directed by Wm. Bullion, Breahan Eve Pautsch
    and Paul S. Holmquist
DCASE Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph (map)
thru March 24  |  tickets: $10-$22   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

March 7, 2013 | 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: The Count of Monte Cristo (Lifeline Theatre)

     
Chris Hainsworth and Jenifer Tyler - Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo
 

Adapted by Christopher M. Walsh
Based on book by Alexandre Dumas 
Directed by Paul S. Holmquist
at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood (map)
thru Oct 30  |  tickets: $32-$35  |  more info

Check for half-price tickets

     Read entire review

     
September 21, 2011 | 2 Comments More

Review: Watership Down (Lifeline Theatre)

  
  

A hopping fantasy adventure

 
  

Hazel-rah (Paul S. Holmquist) and his warren - Watership Down

   
Lifeline Theatre presents
  
  
Watership Down   
   
  
Adapted by John Hildreth
from book by Richard Adams
Directed by
Katie McLean Hainsworth
Original music by Mikhail Fiksel
at
Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N Glenwood (map)
through June 19  | 
tickets: $20-$35   |   more info

Reviewed by Jason Rost

Having not read Richard Adamscritically acclaimed 1972 novel, “Watership Down”, I was a little concerned about getting lost with the mythology in Lifeline Theatre’s new adaptation, just judging by the length of the novel and how much would need to be condensed. While the world of rabbit gods and legends with names like Frith and El-ahrairah can be a little much to take in at first, John Hildreth’s stage adaptation doesn’t take long to captivate as you escape into this world. If you are the type who found no pleasure in any of the “Lord of the Rings” films, or just can’t get past the idea As told in legend, El-ahrairah (Paul S. Holmquist, right), Prince of Rabbits, and Rabscuttle (Scott T. Barsotti, left) enter the burrow of the Black Rabbit of Inlé on a quest to save their people; in Lifeline Theatre’s world premiere production of “Watership Down,” adapted by John Hildreth, directed by Katie McLean Hainsworth, based on the bestselling novel by Richard Adams. (Photo: Suzanne Plunkett)of humans playing rabbits (mostly without the pointy ears), then this fanciful tale may not be for you. However, if you can allow your imagination to escape in director Katie McLean Hainsworth’s smart, physical, and visually exciting (yet never over the top in spectacle) production, then you’re in for a fun adventure.

Hildreth’s adaptation, as with any good literary adaptation, strives to stay true to the core heart of the book while ensuring that the action on stage is constantly moving the story forward remaining compelling to watch. Hildreth begins Adams’ tale with Fiver (Scott T. Barsotti), a young rabbit who has clairvoyant abilities. He senses destruction coming to this particular rabbit warren (stemming from human intervention). He confides this information to his brother Hazel (Paul S. Holmquist) and they inform the Chief Rabbit of the warren (played with unpredictable eccentricity by Matt Kahler). After the Chief Rabbit ignores Fiver’s warnings, Hazel makes the decision to put together a band of fellow rabbits from the warren and venture out in search of a new home safe from danger. With the help of rabbits such as Blackberry (a perfectly cast Chris Daley), an extremely intelligent rabbit (in a modern context very aptly named), and Bigwig (a strong and complex performance by Christopher M. Walsh), who has the brawn of the group.

Throughout their journey they meet new friends, enemies and obstacles before they ultimately reach their destination of an ideal new home called Watership Down. It is the Lincoln Park condo of rabbit fields, luxury rabbit living with all the amenities. The only issue for their survival is that this troop is all male. They need female rabbits in their warren if they hope to thrive. With the assistance of a wounded gull they help heal, Kehaar (a bold scene-stealing performance by Jesse Manson), they discover female rabbits at a nearby farm in captivity. They manage to bring back one, Clover (a charming Chelsea Paice).

The other expedition proves to be much more treacherous as Bigwig goes undercover in what’s essentially a totalitarian rabbit warren where the females are enslaved and utilized strictly for breeding. Hazel and the gang lead a rescue mission to save the females and ultimately defend their new warren against General Woundwart (a deliciously evil Dave Skvarla) and his fascist army of scar marked rabbits. Hildreth also finds time to integrate scenes involving El-ahrairah (also played by Holmquist), the folk-hero prince of rabbits who characterizes all of the virtues rabbits aspire to. While intriguing, the jumps to these scenes occasionally take the air out of the action. All the while, the audience is free to connect the themes and motifs of the story to a multitude of religious and historical parallels including Christianity, WWII and the founding of Rome including the rape of the Sabine women (pretty thought-provoking for a tale about bunnies).

Scott T. Barsotti as Fiver (left) and Paul S. Holmquist as Hazel (right) in Lifeline Theatre's "Watership Down".  (Photo: Suzanne Plunkett)Hainsworth’s direction keeps things rather simple by choosing to avoid transforming the actors fully into rabbits, and instead focuses on the physicality. At times, she does have some difficulty grappling with stage pictures when the majority of the ensemble is on stage in this compact space. Also, the opening pacing drags slightly but that is coupled with the simple fact that there’s a lot of mythology being thrown at the audience in the initial scenes of Hildreth’s script.

In his double duty as movement designer, Holmquist helps create varied and fascinating choices in the physical performances of the ensemble. Richard Gilbert and Dave Gregory of R & D Choreography enhance the production greatly with their acrobatic and theatrical violence design. Matt Engle is a standout in his dynamic fights. Wenhai Ma’s set creates some excellent levels and provides a good playground for the actors to play scenes in various locations including into the audience. Joanna Iwanicka’s puppet and mask design echoes the recent Broadway Equus, but is entirely appropriate and meshes well with Hainworth’s minimal concept. Her video design provides some gorgeous, yet not too distracting abstract landscapes, however the glowing orb of the god Frith is perhaps a little too makeshift and underwhelming.

Watership Down is a faithful adaptation fit perfectly for the Lifeline Theatre aesthetic. It could certainly have gone in a more fanciful and spectacular direction (imagine a stage full of Easter bunny suits), but Hainsworth’s concept along with Aly Renee Amidei’s contemporary costumes (the farm rabbits’ preppy clothing is a gas) keeps the characters and themes of the story relatable and grounded for us human observers. This certainly requires your mind to fill in some gaps in the imagery, but for the willing audience member, the effort is well worth the journey in the end. With a dedicated and creative ensemble tackling this largely fascinating adaptation, I think it’s safe to say, “Lifeline has done it again.”

  
  
Rating: ★★★
  
  

Jesse Manson as Kehaar (left) and Christopher M. Walsh as Bigwig (right) in Lifeline Theatre's "Watership Down". (Photo: Suzanne Plunkett)

Lifeline Theatre presents Watership Down, running April 29—June 19, 2011 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. (free parking and shuttle). Regular performance times are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. Tickets are $35 for regular single tickets on Saturdays and Sundays, $32 for regular single tickets on Thursdays and Fridays, $27 for seniors, $20 for students, and $20 rush tickets. Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting www.lifelinetheatre.com.

  
  
May 14, 2011 | 1 Comment More