Articles tagged with: Steep Theatre
‘Red Rex’ at Steep: When theater stages local story, fantasy lifts curtain on one man’s pain
Review: The latest installment in Ike Holter’s now six-play saga of the fictional Chicago neighborhood of Rightlynd is part social commentary, part inside-theater sendup. From all angles, it is smartly written – provocative, witty and taut. “Red Rex” takes its title from a Rightlynd storefront theater, a struggling enterprise that finally may get over the hump with a compelling new play devised by the company’s resident playwright Lana. Devised, as in borrowed and adapted. There’s the rub. ★★★
‘Linda’ at Steep: When the craggy face of time turns its glare on one-time woman of the year
Review: Despite a rather heavy application of angst, the true face of poignancy emerges in Penelope Skinner’s “Linda,” a dramatic screed at Steep Theatre on women, beauty and the cumulative unkindness of years. Kendra Thulin reels through the title role, one moment a confident and successful marketer of beauty products, the next moment a has-been who watches the world, fashion and relevance all pass by, leaving her bereft in life’s seventh age, sans everything. ★★★
‘Hinter’ at Steep: Down on farm, bodies pile up as thriller flips narrative on its head. Go figure.
Review: In an imaginative whodunnit, Chicago writer Calamity West proposes the hypothetical solution to an unsolved mass murder from 1922. Bavaria’s counterpart to the Lizzie Borden story (in notoriety if not in detail) involves six people on a farmstead in Munich’s remote outback. All were found hacked to death. ★★★
‘The Invisible Hand’ at Steep: Cash is king, and even the godly bow to its golden crown
Review: If power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, what shall we say about the allure – no, the infection — of wealth? Perhaps mammon is the perverse god whom man created, not in his own image but as his highest aspiration and ideal. Money, money, money, money, money. Get a good taste of it only to crave more. That’s the object lesson, the demonstration, of Ayad Akhtar’s wrenching, fearsome play “The Invisible Hand,” which now commands the little stage at Steep Theatre in a production directed by Audrey Francis that is well worth adding to your must-see list. ★★★★
‘Earthquakes in London’ at Steep: Our roiling planet may soon resemble a fractured family
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. ★★★
‘Bobbie Clearly’ at Steep: A troubled youth, murder and the shattering toll on a small town
Review: Having nurtured Alex Lubischer’s ambitious and imaginative tragi-comedy “Bobbie Clearly” through workshops, Steep Theatre now offers the result-to-date in a world premiere. It’s a dark tale – about a small-town youth who murders a little girl, goes to prison, then returns to make amends – laced with witty dialogue and charged circumstance. It’s also burdened by moments still awaiting the spark of life. ★★
‘Wastwater’ at Steep: The human condition, warts and all, with an emphasis on the warts
Review: If the mirror held to up to our human lot by Simon Stephens’ play “Wastwater” fairly reflects what’s framed there, we’re not a very pretty collection. We may have our favorable features, but for the most part the image that emerges in “Wastwater,” about to wind up its run at Steep Theatre, is one of frailty, desperation and meanness. ★★★
‘Posh’ at Steep Theatre: Rich British boys behaving horridly, on sure path to success
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: Steep gets down and grapples with Linklater premiere, more Simon Stephens
17th in a series of season previews: Founding artistic director Peter Moore says Steep Theatre’s 15th season captures the essence of what this scrappy company is all about – “ground-level views of life.” That low-angle survey begins with the world premiere of Hamish Linklater’s “The Cheats,” about two neighboring couples who suddenly find themselves uncomfortably close.
‘Martyr’ at Steep: Shrinking from sex, fearful youth finds a hideout, if not shelter, in Bible
Review: When we first encounter Benjamin Südel, he is a moody teen in the middle of his violent spring awakening. Awkward and obsessed with himself, he is almost paralyzed with bewilderment – no, terror – as he is thrust into his school’s hormonal stew. He may or may not be the title character of Marius von Mayenburg’s play, “Martyr,” now enjoying nervous laughter in its fine U.S. premiere at Steep Theatre. ★★★★
Role Playing: Shane Kenyon touches charisma and hurt of lovable loser in Steep’s ‘If There Is’
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.”
‘If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet’ at Steep: Noting the footprint, but missing the people
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. ★★★★
‘Motortown’ at Steep: Danny comes marching home, but the emotional shelling doesn’t stop
Review: Danny has no visible scars, no missing limbs, but this former British soldier bears deep wounds from his tour of duty in Iraq. He is the tormented, dangerous antihero of playwright Simon Stephens’ “Motortown,” now in a riveting North American premiere run at Steep Theatre. ★★★★
Eight hot Chicago plays you should have seen come round again in Theater on the Lake fest
Preview: Theater director Halena Kays is exaggerating only slightly when she refers to the million plays you’d have to see if you hoped to catch every show in a Chicago season. That’s the beauty of Theater on the Lake, the summer reprise of eight top productions that opens June 12 with original casts reassembled. It’s a bonus round for theater-goers who simply ran out of nights.
Your drama is waiting: Chicago Theatre Week offers citywide smorgasbord at savory prices
Report: Tickets will be $15 and $30.