Based on the writings of Winston Churchill
and the teleplay “Winston Churchill” by Dr. James C, Humes
Directed by Kurt Johns
Produced by The Greenhouse Theater Center and SoloChicago Theatre
At the Greenhouse Theater, Chicago
Riveting portrayal of Winston Churchill a tour de force for Ronald Keaton
Creating and performing a one person show is a daunting task but when the subject is Winston Churchill (1974 – 1965), the task becomes near impossible! But in the hands of veteran actor/director/playwright Ronald Keaton it is not only doable but amazingly effective. Not only does Keaton bare a resemblance to Churchill and he has his vocal style, accent and speech patterns down pat. He also has his movements, gestures and mannerisms reflecting accurately including the cigar and bowler hat that he seemed to be channeling Churchill on stage! This is a “must see,” tour de force performance magnificently performed by one of the finest, under appreciated actors working in Chicago. But what makes this one person show so riveting besides the fine projections (designed by Paul Deziel) and the smart direction by Kurt Johns. This biodrama carefully and fully tells audience about Churchill the person, the soldier, the politician, the statesman, the inspirational leader; his foibles are accurately presented. Keaton has done his research.
Churchill’s story is told as a memory play that finds him speaking candidly to an American audience late in his life. Keaton evokes a truthfulness that seems genuine as he gets Churchill to speak of many parts of his amazing 91 years on earth. From his difficult childhood and upbringing, especially from a demanding father, to his high ambitions to his multi-faceted talents (painter,brick layer, historian, writer, orator, politician) to his leadership during WWIIwe learn to appreciate the honesty, wit and candor of the man considered to be “the greatest man of the 20th Century.” Keaton nimbly and deftly with aplomb delivers the smart wit and stinging Churchill quotes, retorts and homilies. Churchill’s friendship with FDR, his dislike for the Russians and his “Iron Curtain” speech are remembered.
Keaton captures the eloquence, the passion and the determination that fueled this complex man. We learn to appreciate the iron will, the stubbornness, and the stead-fast determination of the man that gave his the energy and passion to live life to the fullest as he channeled his personality to lead his nation through the hardships of war. Ronald Keaton fully embraces Churchill as he brings the man’s persona to sparkle as he presents Churchill’s complexity with honesty, clarity and spot-on wit and comic timing.
It is refreshing to “see’ history come alive as a accomplished actor presents an amazing performance.
I think Churchill would pour a whiskey and light a cigar in homage to Keaton’s portrayal.
It is also important to note that The Greenhouse Theater Center, under the leadership of Jason Epperson is teaming up with SoloChicago to present more Equity based one person shows. As a fan of solo shows, I applaud this news! With Keaton’s Churchill, SoloChicago sure has set the standards high. Every actor in town needs to get to The Greenhouse to witness Keaton’s performance.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
For more info checkout the Churchill page at theatreinchicago.com
At The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln,Chicago, IL, call 773-404-7336, www.greenhousetheater.org, tickets $25 – $35, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:30 pm, running time is 105 minutes with intermission, through November 9, 2104