REVIEWSSally Jo OsborneTheatre Reviews

The Dining Room

By A. R Gurney

Directed by Keith Gerth

At The Oil Lamp Theater in Glenview, IL

Put Down That Cell Phone and Pay Attention When You Are In The Dining Room!

There is a lot of activity around this beautifully designed and decorated 1898 dining room table found in the “The Dining Room”. First presented Off-Broadway in the early 80’s this A.R. Gurney production has arrived in Glenview and you’re invited to celebrate in some of the most intimate moments that families share over the many stages of their lives.

So, I took a little survey today at work and found those fortunate enough to have a dining room use it several times a year for special occasions mostly. At the quaint little storefront theatre, these upper-middle class families share some very serious occasions, some silly events and even sad times too. Any way you look at it there is usually some sort of memorablel moments that take place in “The Dining Room”.

This is the story of WASPs, who lived throughout the 19th Century, with serious cultural norms of how life should be and the stability this lifestyle offered in the well-to-do households. About this dining room- A real-estate agent and his client discuss the possible uses of the dining room in a house that is for sale. Brother and sister argue over which one will get the dining room table left behind. A daily breakfast, a birthday party, a Thanksgiving dinner with a mother who does not recognize her family, there are many moments that make memories around this table.

This cozy theatre without a bad seat in the house makes you feel right at home and the artistic director makes you feel very welcome the moment you walk in the door. There is even a friendly doorman to show you in.

Stephen Smith, Eric Bays, Michael Ermel, Amanda Meyer , Lara Dohner and Daniella Rukin are the energetic quick change actors that fill the stage with the many scenarios in this play. Six different actors, playing many different characters, in about 18 different scenes over many years.  Sometimes the furniture is the main character and sometimes it is the memories, but “The Dining Room” allows you be that fly on the wall if you will. You are invited to listen in to all the drama and fun that others go through which allows you to believe that maybe your life isn’t so dysfunctional after all.

This show was confusing to me however, I had a hard time knowing it these characters knew each other or if the scene was over, although I know each scene was well intentioned. It is an interesting show and a nice way to spend an evening none the less.

Director Keith Gerth is very passionate about his theatre and is very much at ease with his choice to move his dream to Glenview from the city and it is such a nice find! I am sure to return. By the way, you bring your own wine and they will open it and provide the glasses. They also have a nice selection of snacks! Very nice touch.


Reviewed by Sally Jo Osborne

“The Dining Room” will continue at The Oil Lamp Theater, through February 26th. The theatre is located at 1723 Glenview Road in Glenview.  Performances held on Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at  3 p.m.

Show time is 2 hours with one intermission. Tickets are $35 and can be ordered by calling 847-834-0738, online at or visit