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King Lear at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Comments Off)

September 19, 2014 • Category: REVIEWS, REVIEWS BY, Saul Reichlin, Theatre Reviews

With the exception of the extraordinary staging of one of the most memorable ever speeches, Lear’s ‘Blow wind and crack your cheeks..’ being shouted by him with his back to the audience, the production’s modern dress style was filled with engaging movement and visually skillful staging. The attention never wavered, even though it was like watching a foreign language play at times.This reviewer was seated at the extreme right of the thrust stage. Perhaps because of this, most of the language was unintelligible, with actors facing away. Added to this this was the indistinct delivery of the text, with actors allowed, or directed, to speak with great speed, as they would a Mamet text, often with poor enunciation and vocal projection.

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CATS – Paramount Theater (Comments Off)

CATS has a small story, but wonderful messages within many of its songs, and the creative brilliance of Paramount’s show makes it a must see. With CATS, all the superb singing and exciting dancing plays out the characteristics of different cats, which parallel people you probably know. And which cat do you most closely resemble? Find out with this breathtaking production at the Paramount Theatre only now through October 12, 2014.

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Isaac’s Eye (Comments Off)

We learn about the nerdy, deep-thinks twenty-five year old Isaac Newton (Jurgen Hooper) as he is committed to becoming famous as a innovative scientist in the mid 1600’s in England. Told in contemporary language in modern cloths, Lucas Hnath engages us into the thinking-man’s world of science and philosophy or “natural philosopher” as it was known then, the physicist and mathematician Issac Newton became known as one of the greatest “thinkers” of all-time. Hnath playfully creates the young, ambitious world of Isaac as he believes that his ideas came directly from God despite his challenging revisionist Christian beliefs.

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Myths & Hymns (Comments Off)

The songs range from folk, electronic jazz and piano ballad to gospel and musical theater styles with lyrics quite complicated to sing requiring a blend of pop, classical and opera singing styles that was deftly rendered by this terrific cast. During the 65 minute one-act opera, each of the cast had their moments to exhibit their strong, accurate and compelling vocal dexterity.

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The Game’s Afoot (Comments Off)

The wacky events with ample Shakespearean quotes and madcap movements is both a comedy treat and a fine mystery. Ken Ludwig tries hard to blend the two styles and he takes a tad too long to ties up lose ends but we laugh and enjoy the journey especially by such a terrific cast lead by Hasenstab and Robertson. Purest of the mystery or farce genre may be offended by Ludwig’s smart plotting and nimble characterizations carries the day. Why not have a few laughs while being scared? It’s all in good fun.

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METHTACULAR! (Comments Off)

Why Steven Strafford doesn’t demonstrate the devastating lows of meth addiction stronger so that the above guy in the audience sees clear how dangerous meth can be is a mystery? Maybe the fact that Strafford is on stage doing a show is proof that meth isn’t so bad? And, I suspect since Strafford is so entertaining and funny, that he can’t help but send the wrong message.

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The Size of the World (Comments Off)

The three live in a world devoid of reality as each interact to fuel each others delusions. Peter talks up a storm and Stan bellows at him as Vivian acts as peacemaker and facilitator to both. As Peter plays out his dream of giving seminars at hotels, Vivian and Stan keep their fantasy game going now with Peter’s aspirations in play. The result is funny and poignant look at how life’s obsessions and self delusions can over come reality

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