Review: Crime and Punishment (Shattered Globe Theatre)

| September 18, 2018

Rebecca Jordan, Brad Woodard, Drew Schad, Christina Gorman and Joseph Wiens star in Crime and Punishment



Crime and Punishment
Adapted by Chris Hannan 
   from novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map)
thru Oct 20  |  tix: $20-$39  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets    


Despite talented cast and stunning visuals,
‘Crime’ becomes an exhausting endeavor


Drew Schad and ensemble star in Crime and Punishment, Shattered Globe

Shattered Globe Theatre presents
Crime and Punishment

Review by Lauren Emily Whalen

Audiences may very well love Crime and Punishment. Shattered Globe’s production of Chris Hannan’s new adaptation boasts impeccable production values and fascinating movement design. However, so much on top of an already elaborate story – full of Russian signatures like long names, religious prostitutes and a lot of sad, angry people – becomes very overwhelming very quickly. This Crime and Punishment may as well have been subtitled “Chris Hannan’s VISION.” I capitalize that last word because everything that’s true or relatable about Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic novel is stomped on in this new version, at the expense of the story and characters, as well as the poor actors who have to sing, dance and polysyllabic their way through two and a half interminable hours.

Ilse Zacharias and Drew Schad star in Crime and Punishment, Shattered Globe TheatreAt its core, Crime and Punishment is the story of Raskolnikov (Drew Schad), a law school dropout who finds himself getting away with murder – twice – while wrestling with his conscience and toying with Sonya (Ilse Zacharias), a God-fearing prostitute. (If one took a shot of vodka every time a character emphasized that Sonya is, indeed, a prostitute, they would be on the floor by the end of act one.) The aforementioned conscience is played by each cast member in turn, following Raskolnikov around the stage, consulting with the dastardly antihero, sometimes mocking him.

This is not as fun as it sounds. Rather, the device gets old the moment it is introduced. Trailing Raskolnikov in a long black leather trench coat reminiscent of The Matrix’s Neo, each actor does their duty, emitting an almost discernable sense of relief the second they hand off the coat to the next sucker. Rather than trust the actor playing Raskolnikov to show his own inner conflict and morality – and Schad, an intelligent and intense actor, is more than capable – Hannan foists another actor upon him in a move that feels thoroughly “university theater program” and distracts from the meat of the play.

Ilse Zacharias, Drew Schad and Joseph Wiens star in Crime and Punishment, Shattered Globe TheatreBrad Woodard, Christina Gorman, Drew Schad and Christopher Acevedo star in Crime and PunishmentDrew Schad, Jazzma Pryor, Rebecca Jordan and Christopher Acevedo star in Crime and Punishment

And that’s not all: Hannan’s vision, carried out by experienced director Louis Contey, requires the actors to sing dirges at the beginning and end of both acts, participate in intricate movement sequences, and tote around set pieces while hanging around onstage for even the most intimate scenes. If this sounds exhausting to watch, it is, and it’s undoubtedly even more exhausting for the actors to execute. It’s as if Hannan wanted to write Crime and Punishment: The Musical but didn’t have a willing and/or able collaborator for the score. Though Hailey Rakowiecki’s costumes are both vibrant and elaborate, and Nick Mozak’s set is equally rich, featuring a gorgeous painting of two faces on the stage floor, the stunning visuals aren’t enough to save a production that’s so laughably over-the-top. Act two is much stronger, with more one-on-one interactions and introspection on Raskolnikov’s part, but even that’s a mixed bag: Hannan’s vision with a capital V isn’t even consistent enough to carry into the play’s second half.

If Hannan had slowed down and thought more about the central themes of the novel, Crime and Punishment could have been an embellished but still true adaptation. Instead, it’s messy: part demented ballet and part dialogue-heavy exploration of good versus evil and the gray areas in between. Shattered Globe’s production is a waste of a talented cast, particularly Darren Jones and Jazzma Pryor. While their counterparts are rewarded with more nuanced roles, the production’s two black actors are relegated to playing drunks, maids and sex workers who almost immediately succumb to grisly fates. Even among Crime and Punishment’s considerable bells and whistles, that particular bit of casting is impossible to ignore.

Rating: ★★½

Crime and Punishment continues through October 20th at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map), with performances Thursdays-Saturdays 8pm, Sundays 3pm.  Tickets are $39 (seniors: $30, under 30yo: $20), and are available by phone (773-975-8150) or online through (check for availability of half-price tickets). More information at time: 2 hours 30 minutes, includes an intermission)

Daria Harper, Brad Woodard, Patrick Thornton, Christina Gorman, Rebecca Jordan, Drew Schad and Ilse Zacharias

Photos by Michael Brosilow 




Drew Schad (Raskolnikov), Daria Harper (Alyona Ivanovna, Pulkheria Alexandrovna), Jazzma Pryor (Nastasya, Lizaveta Ivanovna, Amalia Ivanovna), Darren Jones (Semyon Zakharovich Marmeladov, Nikolai), Brad Woodard (Koch, Pyotr Petrovich, Priest), Christopher Acevedo (Skabichevsky, Ilya Petrovich, Doctor, Lebezyatnikov), Rebecca Jordan (Darya Frantsovna, Katerina Ivanovna), Ilse Zacharias (Sonya Marmeladova), Patrick Thornton (Porfiry Petrovich), Christina Gorman (Dunya Romanovna), Joseph Wiens (Razumikhin), Tina Muñoz Pandya, Nick DiMaso, Tim Newell, David Stobbe (understudies)

behind the scenes

Louis Contey (director), Nick Mozak (set design), Hailey Rakowiecki (costume design), Shelley Strasser (lighting design), Christopher Kriz (original music, sound design), Vivian Knouse (props design), Judy Anderson (executive production manager), Tina M. Jach (stage manager), Manny Ortiz (technical director), Christina Gorman (fight and intimacy design), Neal Javenkoski (master electrician), Sadie Tremblay (asst. sound design), Jessie Howe (scenic charge), Michael Brosilow (photos)

Ilse Zacharias, Rebecca Jordan, Jazzma Pryor and Drew Schad star in Crime and PunishmentChristina Gorman, Drew Schad and Joseph Wiens star in Crime and Punishment, Shattered Globe TheatreRebecca Jordan, Brad Woodard, Drew Schad, Christina Gorman and Joseph Wiens star in Crime and Punishment


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Category: 2018 Reviews, Adaptation, Drama, Lauren Emily Whalen, Shattered Globe, Theater Wit

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