REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams


LiveWire Chicago theatre

By Dorothy Fortenberry

Directed by Kendra Miller

Produced by LiveWire Chicago Theatre

At the Den, Chicago

Smart contemporary comedy of  manners a fresh take on maturity

Partners by Dorothy Fortenberry tackles adult partnerships as it involves complex relationships. Four friends in Brooklyn share many common interests. Clare (Lauren Pizzi) is a gourmet chef   just out of culinary school who photographs food for advertising agencies. Her best friend and potential business partner, Ezra (Wil Von Vogt) is a gay man who strives to “make it’ by creating a mobile Mexican-styled food truck with Clare. Clare is determined to have Ezra and Brady (Blake Russell) get married. She wants that more than Ezra and Brady. Meanwhile, Paul (Brian E. Crawford) is the supportive yet subtly domineering husband to Clare. livewire chicago theatre Partners cleverly explores how often we become more obsessed with getting our friends (partners) toward what we think they should be (or do)  than what they may actually want. Ezra cares more about Clare’s career than she does; Brady is more comfortable supporting Ezra than Ezra is about supporting himself.

This whip-smart comedy is packed with rich barbs and funny, stinging dialogue about gay attitudes, cooking, and the dynamics of relationships. Both gay and straight partnerships are intelligently and warmly presented. livewire chicago theatre

When Clare receives a life-changing windfall, money and the fear of becoming a responsible adult threatens her vacillating teen-like self image. Betrayal, procrastination,  and self preservation consume her. The dynamic   between Clare and Paul, Clare and Ezra are forever altered as the four struggle with how much to we owe to those we love.

Partners has loads to say using humor and spiky comments as well as empathetic characters in plausible situations. We love Ezra, especially with the spot-on performance by the terrific Wil Von Vogt. Lauren Pizzi plays Clare’s immaturity and insecurity honestly. Brian E. Crawford shows his true controlling ways while Blake Russell plays Brady with a devotion that expresses love.

Partners is fun, smart, and a refreshing look at maturity as it demonstrates that age and circumstance don’t necessarily translate into adulthood. You’ll be engaged and enjoy your two hours with these partners.


Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed:  June 23, 2014

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout the Partners page at

At The Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL,  call 312-533-4666, tickets $2- – $25, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm,  Industry Nights on Monday, June 30 & July 7 at 7:30 pm, running time is 1 hour, 50 minutes with intermission, through July 20, 2014

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