Articles tagged with: Kevin Depinet
‘Taming of the Shrew’ at Chicago Shakespeare translates romp of an era into modern comedy
Review: On the surface, the idea of an all-female cast for Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” smacks of gimmickry. Framing the story within a contrivance about the women’s campaign in 1919 for the right to vote sounds downright tormented. But “The Taming of the Shrew,” for modern audiences the most problematic entry in the Shakespeare canon, surely has not been brought to the stage with greater wit, brilliance or plausibility since – oh, since women got the right to vote. ★★★★★
‘Love’s Labor’s Lost’ at Chicago Shakespeare: Delectable comedy made clear, biting and dark
Review: Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s new production of the Bard’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost” is a joyous voyage of discovery, a comedic delight that strips away the thicket of a problematic play and leaves us with the bare sober truth of human folly. Deftly edited and wittily directed by Marti Maraden, it brings together an acting ensemble so well integrated that the whole rollicking night feels like the work of a practiced improv troupe. ★★★★★
‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ at American Players: Estwhile beauty meets beast, and he’s not kind
Review: She is a fascinating character, indeed one of the iconic personas in all of theater, Blanche DuBois, the fallen Southern belle of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The undying question is, Why? What’s so intriguing about this dame with the checkered past? Perhaps it’s her vulnerability, or her delusion, or her sheer refusal to go quietly into middle-aged oblivion. I think that’s the thing, her feisty pluck, that makes Tracy Michelle Arnold’s Blanche so compelling at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wis. ★★★★★
‘Sense & Sensibility’ at Chicago Shakespeare: Austen’s beloved sisters glow in new musical
Review: You can just as easily chart a path from Jane Austen to Stephen Sondheim as you can from Austen to Disney, and thus it is not surprising that Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s artistic director Barbara Gaines should create the world premiere production of Paul Gordon’s diverting new musical based on Austen’s first published novel. “Sense and Sensibility” tells the astonishingly vital story of two sisters of marriageable age – one a yin to the other’s yang – in the 1790s. ★★★★
‘Smokefall’ at Goodman: Revisiting a family frayed at seams, blessed with magical hope
Review: Mike Nussbaum, irrepressible at age 90, is like great Bordeaux wine. Need I amplify that? Chicago’s prince of perdurable actors is the single best reason – among many good ones – to catch Goodman Theatre’s almost-instant revival of “Smokefall,” Noah Haidle’s fine-stitched play about family, its profound fractures and its potential for healing. ★★★★★
Oscar Wilde’s ‘Earnest’ at American Players: Much ado about manners, wit and attire
Review: Perhaps it’s because theater companies and audiences have always taken to heart Oscar Wilde’s subtitle for “The Importance of Being Earnest” that this silly, precious comedy of manners has remained a repertory fixture since its premiere in the Victorian world of 1895. Wilde slyly dubbed his play “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People,” and its triviality is indeed embraced seriously in this summer’s amusing romp at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wis. ★★★★
‘Brigadoon’ at Goodman: In musical’s bright mist, someone is lost and new meaning found
Review: In this briskly refreshing theater season, the Windy City has performed a hat trick on behalf of the American musical. Three mainstage companies have each expertly revived a Broadway classic through a shrewd rethinking that paired careful respect for the original with sympathy for today’s audience and its contemporary state of mind in changing times. Following Chicago Shakespeare’s heart-stopping “Gypsy” and Lyric Opera’s gorgeous “The Sound of Music” comes Lerner and Loewe’s 1947 “Brigadoon,” which ran for 581 performances on Broadway and is now in resplendent bloom at the Goodman. ★★★★
‘Henry V’ at Chicago Shakespeare: Noble production, except His Majesty is missing
Review: Chicago Shakespeare’s vivacious production of “Henry V” poses something of a paradox: Much of its energy emanates from the youthful presence of Canadian import Harry Judge as the king – and what is least remarkable about this show is Judge’s surface-skimming account of the embattled monarch. ★★★
‘The Dance of Death’ at Writers: Wedded war rages in old Sweden; fresh look at Strindberg
Review: If you liked Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” you’ll love the original: August Strindberg’s “The Dance of Death,” wherein a toxic, blood-sport marriage between a venomous old soldier and his hissing wife make the sniping between Albee’s George and Martha feel once more present in the room. Writers Theatre provides the well-polished dance floor for Strindberg’s caustic waltz. ★★★★★
‘Gypsy’ at Chicago Shakespeare: This Rose puts fresh blush on Sondheim’s star-gazer
Review: Chicago Shakespeare Theater has given us a “Gypsy” for our own time, one that embraces the difference that 55 years have made since the brassy blockbuster first strutted onto the stage. As directed by Gary Griffin, it’s a gritty roadshow musical with a surprisingly contemporary and tender heart. ★★★★★
‘Smokefall’ at Goodman: Behind worldly veil, tears and contentment fuse into force of life
Review: Life sucks, and then you die. If that dark existential view sometimes can seem like the only certainty, taxes being at least negotiable, it is repudiated – with gentleness and magical wit — in Noah Haidle’s new play “Smokefall,” presented in its “co-world premiere” at Goodman Theatre. ★★★★★
‘Wasteland’ at LifeLine: Alone in earthen cell, G.I. battles twin demons isolation and fear
In a vibrant brush with ‘Sunday in the Park,’ Chicago Shakespeare connects all the dots
Vivid characters and some great singing carry the day for ‘A Little Night Music’ at Writers’
Sondheim’s paean to love. 4 stars!
Goodman’s well-honed ‘Iceman Cometh’ slices through a boozy, painful cloud of pipe-dreams
Brian Dennehy, Nathan Lane. 5 stars!
Chicago Shakespeare’s lean and brisk ‘Timon’ zooms in on crash-and-burn of a needy Midas
Mega-rich tycoon falls low. 4 stars!
Chicago Shakespeare’s teen-length ‘Shrew,’ pulling out laugh stops, shows way to do Will
Spunky side of the Bard. 4 stars!