Articles tagged with: Erik Hellman
‘Smart People’ at Writers: A skilled playwright stirs foursome into existential comedy on race
Review: The smartest thing about Lydia R. Diamond’s play “Smart People,” now installed at Writers Theatre, may be the playwright herself. Diamond has a slashing wit and a ringing command of language. Whether “Smart People” adds up to all that much, or indeed whether it’s as fresh and imaginative as its high energy suggests, are other matters. ★★★
Theater as crucible: Two Arthur Miller classics bridge high peaks of Goodman, Steppenwolf
Review: If you have not yet seen both “A View from the Bridge” at Goodman Theatre and “The Crucible” at Steppenwolf Theatre – well, it’s Miller time. These are mesmerizing productions of two of Arthur Miller’s finest plays, and impressive reminders of why Goodman and Steppenwolf hold such eminent places on Chicago’s – indeed, the nation’s – theater scene. Each of these parallel runs has only a handful of performances remaining. Together, they make for a stunning one-two theatrical punch. Both ★★★★★
‘Harvey’ at Court: In wacky account, message of a good soul, invisible rabbit is plain to see
Review: In these parlous times, it’s good to remember that Mary Chase’s radiant moral comedy “Harvey” won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. As Elwood P. Dowd, the protagonist who pals around with a 6-foot-tall invisible white rabbit, might say: I’d like to see a prize awarded to Court Theatre for its lovely staging of the play. ★★★★★
Comic sequel to ‘Pride & Prejudice’ bundles bookish romance into shining Christmas play
Review: Less than halfway through “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,” a happy world premiere in the spirit of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” I found myself wishing that Elizabeth Bennet had eight sisters, not four. That way I could look forward to more Austen sequels by the playwright team of Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. They have done a pitch-perfect job assimilating the 19th-century novelist’s way with words while spinning entirely new adventures for the bookish, presumably unmarriageable, middle sister of the Bennet household – Mary. ★★★★
‘The Good Book’ at Court: Rethinking the Bible as the work of men, and struggling to see light
Review: It ain’t necessarily so, says Miriam with scholarly conviction and a defiant flourish of the Good Book. The Bible, she says flatly, is not the word of God. How it might have been pieced together and how its powerful text touches the lives of two contemporary souls – this scholar and a devout teenage boy struggling with his sexual awakening – is the stuff of “The Good Book,” a brilliantly funny and provocative new play by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson now in its world premiere run at Court Theatre. ★★★★★
Role Playing: Mary Beth Fisher embraces both hope, despair of social worker in ‘Luna Gale’
Interview: Mary Beth Fisher, who portrays the empathic, long-experienced and raggedly weathered social worker Caroline in Rebecca Gilman’s new play “Luna Gale” at Goodman Theatre, says every performance has been an interactive encounter with the audience.
‘Luna Gale’ at Goodman: Groping for answers when parents are children and milk is meth
Review: Caroline is a social worker whose job it is to rescue neglected and abused children and find decent homes for them. She goes about her task seriously – one of her former charges gently rebukes her for being “always on topic.” In Rebecca Gilman’s radiant and disturbing new play “Luna Gale,” now in an electric world premiere run at Goodman Theatre, Caroline comes to her melancholy topic with a full heart as well as her own imperfect history. ★★★★★
‘The Misanthrope’ at Court: Rants that rhyme keep laughs coming in crisp, modern Molière
Review: When Molière’s satiric play “The Misanthrope” first came to the stage in 1666, at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris, its mockery of society as duplicitous, self-aggrandizing and narcissistic must have had audiences teary-eyed with laughter. Just so is Court Theatre’s deliciously decadent new production LOL stuff. Indeed, director Charles Newell’s imaginative, sharply executed enterprise is simply not to be missed. ★★★★
Role Playing: Chaon Cross turned Court stage into a romper room finding answers in ‘Proof’
Interview: The interpretive quest that led Chaon Cross to her fierce, blazing portrayal of Catherine, the brilliant but unmoored young woman in David Auburn’s “Proof” at Court Theatre, began in rehearsals with a lot of running around, getting under furniture and throwing things.
‘Proof’ at Court Theatre: Finding love, other prime factors in calculus of life’s choices
Wrestling with sins of the flesh, a porn star finds salvation comes at a cost in ‘Hesperia’
Sex and religion at Writers’. 4 stars!