Directed by Thomas Murray
Produced by Broken Nose Theatre
At the Greenhouse Theatre, Chicago
World Premier play is not ready for the stage
I enjoy see new theatre troupes as the ever-expanding Chicago theatre scene seems to produce so I was curious about Broken Nose Theatre. They opened the world premiere of artistic director Benjamin Brownson’s Beautiful Broken at the Greenhouse Theatre to an enthusiastic audience last night. Packed with loyal friends of the cast and crew, Beautiful Broken lasted a whopping two hours and thirty-five minutes! It is a relationship “romantic dramedy” that plays like a redundant-filled, cliche-ridden contrived drama fueled with “playwright-speak” unrealistic dialogue with a too-slow razor thin plot. Other than Bradford Lund, the work is filled with weak performances and, at times, filled with actors who rush through their lines as they run their words together. In other words, this work fails every test of stage worthy theatre.
We meet two couples, Paul (Bradford Lund) and Bridgette (Leslie Ruettiger) and Matt (Michael Bullaro) and Julie (Catherine Bullard). The guys are actors in a local Chicago Shakespeare troupe, the girls are in the theatre’s crew. Paul is a neurotic actor obsessed by living in the shadow of his dead brother. Julie likes Paul but she is being haunted by cell phone calls from her estranged father that continuously interrupts her moments with Paul (Why she doesn’t just turn off her phone is a mystery?) Paul is determined to “fix” Bridgette and to help Matt mate with Julie. Filled with contrived and preposterous situations, Beautiful Broken drones on and on until it reaches unrealistic conclusions where lying and betrayal still leave room for possible reconciliation. Add a silly character so obnoxious that I wanted to hit him with a stick, and Beautiful Broken simply tries too hard to combine backstage drama with corny humor and stilted romance. This work needs to go back to the drawing board to refocus itself, make serious cuts, and thresh-out the character’s motivations more. As it now plays, it simply bores more than entertains. I’d skip this one.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: March 29, 2013
For more info checkout the Beautiful Broken page at theatreinchicago.com