Articles in Theater + Stage
Debating God at the Mercury. 3 stars.
Review: That master of the modern English comedy of manners, Noel Coward, might plausibly have written “Ten Chimneys,” the light-hearted toss of a play now occupying Northlight Theatre. It is so stylish, so wry, so – well, ephemeral. ***
Report: All 20 precociously accomplished high school actors who took part in the August Wilson Monologue Competition at the Goodman Theatre were offered, as part of their winnings, free tickets to American playwright Danai Gurira’s “The Convert,” onstage at the Goodman through March 25. I hope they took the Goodman up on it. Wilson’s legacy is strongly continued with Gurira’s reflection upon her own African roots in a former capital of British colonialism.
Interview: So perfectly does Rebecca Finnegan blend her painful lyric pauses into the narrative flow of “A Catered Affair,” at Porchlight Music Theater, that you scarcely notice she has ramped up from speech to song. Then the swelling power of that voice grabs you, and you realize you’re watching something special: an accomplished actor who’s also a genuine singer.
A bit o’ comic relief at the Goodman.
Carnal carnival at Goodman. 3 stars.
Interview: The scruffy creature with darting eyes who calls himself Davies looks like his last bed was a cardboard box on the street. He is the elusive but palpably real character at the core of Harold Pinter’s play “The Caretaker,” now on the boards at Writers’ Theatre, and he’s brought to wheedling, calculating life in a masterful piece of acting by Bill Norris.
Arthur Miller on memory’s attic. 3 stars.
Desperate souls in a diner. 4 stars!
Spunky side of the Bard. 4 stars!
Portrait of duress at Lifeline. 4 stars!
A play verging on opera. 4 stars!
It’s a midsummer night… 4 stars!
Sex and religion at Writers’. 4 stars!
It’s all about the verbs, present and veiled past, as lies collide in ‘The Girl in the Yellow Dress’
Student-teacher clash at Next. 4 stars!
Stompin’ at Victory Gardens. 3 stars
Some wounds heal slowly. 4 stars!
Meltdown at Amer. Theater Co. 5 stars!
Cynically, unbearably funny. 4 stars!
Full count at the Lookingglass. 3 stars.
Interview: Diane D’Aquila, who brings Queen Elizabeth I to regal and vulnerable life in Timothy Findley’s “Elizabeth Rex” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, says acting in this gripping, keenly honed production “is a like a dance out there, and it’s scary as hell.”
And Odysseus is bearing down. 3 stars.
Interview: His clown suit, a bit tattered and soiled with soot, looks like it once might have been pure white. But the character Dean Evans plays in the Neo-Futurists’ production of “Burning Bluebeard” is decidedly dark, one might even say spectral.
Capra’s film as oldie broadcast. 4 stars!
Debut tour at Chicago Theatre. 4 stars!
Shakespeare’s in the barn. 5 stars!
Appreciation: The showgirls of Broadway’s “Follies” have histories of their own. Hats off to these flawless charmers and their former selves in a present — and past — perfect production.
Festive retelling for all ages. 4 stars!
One-man invasion at the Court. 4 stars!
Interview: Actor Dan Waller describes himself as a simple guy who values friendship and the respect of his peers. That makes him a close kin to the North England coal miner, revealed as gifted artist, he portrays in Lee Hall’s play “The Pitmen Painters” at TimeLine Theatre.