Articles tagged with: Janet Ulrich Brooks
Review: Omari is 16, maybe 17 years old and he’s in serious trouble. He’s black, a bright kid, from good people. They send O – everybody calls him O – to a private school. But the boy is deeply angry, and now he’s facing expulsion from school, and maybe much worse, for assaulting a teacher. This the perilous crux of Dominique Morisseau’s play “Pipeline,” on gripping display at Victory Gardens Theater. ★★★★
Review: Janet Ulrich Brooks reigns supreme as Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s play “The Audience” at TimeLine Theatre. The poised, circumspect, droll and ever so slightly vulnerable performance by one of Chicago’s most versatile actresses provides the constant heart in an otherwise uneven enterprise. The springboard for Morgan’s sly work is the historical Tuesday meetings between the Queen and the prime minister of the moment – a succession of politicos from Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden down through the decades to Tony Blair and David Cameron. ★★★
Review: Maude is middle-aged, recently fired from her job as a bar tender and living alone in a dumpy trailer decorated with other people’s discarded junk. But one such piece of refuse is a painting that could be an original Jackson Pollock. That’s the starting point of Stephen Sachs’ play “Bakersfield Mist,” a two-hander at TimeLine Theatre starring a pair of Chicago’s best actors, who between them cannot bring this half-baked drama to much purpose. ★★
Review: I hate going here, I really do, because it’s going to sound like home cooking, but the hysterical truth is – and everything about this is hysterical – that the Goodman Theatre romp through Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” roundly eclipses the production I saw last season in New York. Directed by Steve Scott, this show is so smart and tight, so killingly funny, that seeing it just once may not be possible. ★★★★★
Review: Family: the human comedy at its most hysterical. And I’m not talking about television sitcoms. I mean the authentically bizarre brand of familial farce that resonates through Richard Nelson’s quartet of Apple family plays, two of which are now on contrasting display at TimeLine Theatre. Directed by Louis Contey, “That Hopey Changey Thing” and “Sorry” are the first and third in Nelson’s Apple series. Each offers us a virtual chair at the table with four adult siblings and their elderly uncle as they confront family issues and stew over America’s political prospects in the time frame from November 2010 to November 2013. ★★ / ★★★★
Review: Rachel Hardeman is 28 years old and very bright, in fact a budding evolutionary biologist. She’s also a prickly pear who wears her attitude like a badge – or perhaps a protective cape. In Sarah Treem’s fascinating play “The How and the Why,” now on clinical display at TimeLine Theatre, Rachel collides with a blood relative who may owe her a good deal – some explaining for starters – and the thorns fly. ★★★
Interview: “Terror is a good place to start,” Karen Janes Woditsch was saying about her beguiling performance as cooking icon Julia Child in “To Master the Art.” “And I started there. I added the ingredients of her character very slowly.”
Second in a series of season previews: Playwright Susan Felder’s “Wasteland,” a world premiere about two American G.I.’s imprisoned in Vietnam isolation, plus three Chicago premieres make up TimeLine’s 2012-13 schedule; season opens Aug. 24 with a musical riddle.
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. ***
Portraying an experienced arms negotiator during the 1980s missile crisis for TimeLine, Brooks manages to be sly, funny and serious — in precisely accented English she learned from an interview with a Russian opera star.