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Articles tagged with: Jonathan Berry

‘Earthquakes in London’ at Steep: Our roiling planet may soon resemble a fractured family

Mar 15, 2017 – 9:02 am
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Review: Mike Bartlett’s “Earthquakes in London,” at Steep Theatre, is an intriguing excursion that conflates garden variety family dysfunction with nothing less than the end of days. The show closes March 18, and it’s worth catching – not for its perfection (it is imperfect), but for its rigorous melding of intricate, credible characters and a provocative foray into magical realism. ★★★

‘Posh’ at Steep Theatre: Rich British boys behaving horridly, on sure path to success

Feb 1, 2016 – 11:21 pm
Posh at Steep

Review: British playwright Laura Wade’s “Posh,” now on graphic display at Steep Theatre, drives home a somber message: Great wealth rules. Anything is possible or tolerable if you can hand over a blank check to pay the freight or pay for the damage. ★★★

Theater 2015-16: Steppenwolf 40th anniversary boasts premieres by Frank Galati, Tracy Letts

Sep 16, 2015 – 3:27 pm
Frank Galati in rehearsal of 'East of Eden' at Steppenwolf. (Joel Moorman)

13th in a series of season previews: Two world premieres and three first-time Chicago stagings form a doubly celebratory season at Steppenwolf Theatre – marking the company’s 40th anniversary and honoring the legacy of its longtime artistic director, Martha Lavey, who stepped down at the end of last season. Steppenwolf opens with the world premiere of Frank Galati’s adaptation of “East of Eden,” John Steinbeck’s sweeping, tumultuous epic novel about family dynamics and fortunes set mainly in California early in the 20th century.

‘Side Man’ at American Blues Theater: Honey pours from a trumpet, bile from a bitter wife

May 18, 2015 – 10:36 pm
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Review: Everything that is so remarkable, so rich and treasurable, about Chicago’s far-flung storefront theater scene is embodied in American Blues Theater’s resonant and poignant production of Warren Leight’s “Side Man.” Eloquently directed by Jonathan Berry, this model of tight, smart ensemble acting is well worth adjusting the calendar to catch, but it runs only until May 24 and will not be extended. ★★★★★

‘Balm in Gilead’ at Griffin: In one desolate corner of society, hope has a fresh face and short life

Apr 8, 2015 – 4:19 pm
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Review: The vibe might be described as frenetic inertia. At this 1960s New York City café, the locale of Lanford Wilson’s play “Balm in Gilead,” drug pushers and drug users, prostitutes and assorted other low-lifes and lost souls convene, or perhaps the word is collide, in an ever-simmering froth of collective despair. It’s a youthful scene, yet emptiness and delusion form a vista of concentrated sadness, and it is etched deeply into Griffin Theatre’s production. ★★★★

Role Playing: Joseph Wiens starts at full throttle to convey alienation of ‘Look Back in Anger’

Jun 9, 2014 – 8:17 am
Actor Joseph Wiens portrays the frustrated, alienated Jimmy Porter in John Osborne's 'Look Back in Anger at Redtwist Theatre.

Interview: The first thing Joseph Wiens had to overcome in achieving his electric performance in John Osborne’s “Look Back in Anger” at Redtwist Theatre was the sheer volume of lines. Well, that and what he calls the “mishmash” of British accents. And of course the machine-gun speed at which Osborne’s teeming language had to be delivered – intelligibly.

Role Playing: Shane Kenyon touches charisma and hurt of lovable loser in Steep’s ‘If There Is’

May 29, 2014 – 10:59 am
Actor Shane Kenyon, who plays Terry in Nick Payne's 'If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet' at Steep Theatre.

Interview: Into the life of overweight, lonely, sullen teenager Anna, in Nick Payne’s play “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet,” bursts her similarly miserable but emotionally supercharged uncle Terry. He’s an instantly appealing guy who, says actor Shane Kenyon, has invested a lifetime of energy in “running away from growing up and accepting responsibility.”

‘Look Back in Anger’ at Redtwist: Bitterness nurtured as mode of life in post-war England

May 21, 2014 – 11:09 pm
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Review : Jimmy Porter is a bright but very angry young working-class Englishman who has grown to adulthood in the decade following the end of World War II. While he has married somewhat above his social grade, his life is going nowhere. In John Osborne’s searing 1956 play “Look Back in Anger,” Jimmy consecrates his sharp wit and tireless energy to a seething, circular rant. Jonathan Berry directs an electric production at Redtwist Theatre, where Joseph Wiens lends volcanic Jimmy all the brilliance and sadness of a man in existential warp, spiritually homeless in a world that has lost its meaning. ★★★★

‘If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet’ at Steep: Noting the footprint, but missing the people

Apr 23, 2014 – 11:04 am
Anna (Caitlin Looney) listens to some straight talks from her uncle Terry. (Lee Miller)

Review: Anna is 15 years old, seriously overweight and disconnected from just everything: her mom and dad, her school mates, her life. But disconnection runs in the family. Anna’s parents don’t seem to notice her. Then into their midst, in Nick Payne’s absorbing and painful play “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet,” pops the girl’s utterly lost soul of an uncle bearing a glimmer of hope. It is a promise as fragile as it is paradoxical, and exquisitely framed by four superb actors in Steep Theatre’s fine production directed by Jonathan Berry. ★★★★

Griffin Theatre’s ‘Golden Boy’ traces a fighter’s tragic search in rings of destruction

Mar 13, 2014 – 11:16 pm
As his trainer (Jason Lindner, left) and father (Norm Woodel, center rear) look on, Joe (Nate Santana) gets a pep talk from Eddie (David Prete). (Michael Brosilow)

Review: Meet boxer Joe Bonaparte: smart kid, tough, determined, wickedly fast hands. And one more thing, self-destructive. You could say Joe, the anti-hero of Clifford Odets’ classic 1937 play “Golden Boy,” launches his own career, hurtles himself into a high orbit. The beauty, if that’s the word, of Nate Santana’s portrayal of this increasingly ugly character, in Griffin Theatre’s punchy production, is that you can’t take your eyes off him even as he pummels his life into a bruised mess. ★★★★