Tag: Brendan Hutt

Review: Brontë (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)

Janeane Bowlware and Anne Korajczak star in Promethean Theatre's "Brontë" by Polly Teale, directed by Jaclynn Jutting. (photo credit: Tom McGrath)         


Written by Polly Teale
Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport (map)
thru Feb 7  |  tix: $14-$24  | more info
Check for half-price tickets   

January 14, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)

Nick Lake and Tom McGrath star in Promethean Theatre Ensemble's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" by Tom Stoppard, directed by Beth Wolf.  (photo credit: Johnny Knight)        
Rosencrantz and
   Guildenstern Are Dead

Written by Tom Stoppard  
Directed by Beth Wolf
at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport (map)
thru May 24  |  tickets: $12-$22   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

May 9, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Lark (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)

Aila Peck stars as Joan of Arc in Promethean Theatre Ensemble's "The Lark" by Jean Anouilh, directed by John Arthur Lewis. (photo credit: Tom McGrath)        
The Lark

Written by Jean Anouilh
Adapted by Lillian Hellman 
Directed by John Arthur Lewis
Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport (map)
thru Feb 22   |  tickets: $12-$22   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

February 3, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Romeo and Juliet (Midsommer Flight)

Ashlee Edgemon and Brian Scannel star in Midsommer Flight's "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare, directed by Beth Wolf.        
Romeo and Juliet 

Written by William Shakespeare  
Directed by Beth Wolf
at Schreiber Park (map) and Touhy Park (map)
thru Aug 18  |  tickets: FREE   |  more info 
        Read entire review

August 2, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)

Promethean Theatre Ensemble's "Caucasian Chalk Circle" by Bertolt Brecht, directed by Ed Rutherford.        
The Caucasian Chalk Circle 

Written by Bertolt Brecht 
Original music by Matt Kahler
Directed by Ed Rutherford
at City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr (map)
thru Feb 9  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

January 13, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Pirate Bones (Lincoln Square Theatre)

Ashley J. Dearborn and Gina DeLuca star in "Pirate Bones," written and directed by Kristina M. Schramm. (photo credit: Tom Snow)        
Pirate Bones 

Written and Directed by Kristina M. Schramm
at Lincoln Square Theatre, 4754 N. Leavitt (map)
thru Nov 24  |  tickets: $12-$20   |  more info 
          Read entire review

October 28, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Double (Babes With Blades Theatre)

Gillian N. Humiston as Minnie Sparks and Kimberly Logan as Olivia Wood in Babes With Blades' production of "The Double," by Barbara Lhota (Photo by Steve Townshend) The Double 

Written by Barbara Lhota
Directed by Leigh Barrett
Lincoln Square Theatre, 4754 N. Leavitt (map)
thru Sept 24  |   tickets: $8-$25   |   more info

Check for half-price tickets

         Read entire review

August 21, 2011 | 2 Comments More

REVIEW: Heaven Can Wait (Attic Playhouse)

Still earthbound in Highwood



Attic Playhouse presents
Heaven Can Wait
By Harry Segall
Directed by Catherine Davis; assisted by Lauren Friedman
Attic Playhouse, 410 Sheridan Road, Highwood (map)
Through May 30 | Tickets: $20 advance, $22 door | more info

Reviewed by Leah A. Zeldes

I recently wrote that there’s good theater beyond the city limits, and so there is. And there’s bad and uneven theater in the city. Yet unsuccessful urban and suburban Chicagoland productions typically show distinct differences.

attic_Ken_Gayton___Brendan_Hutt___Heaven_Can_Wait_1_ In the city, directors tend to be daring, premiering new plays and trying new treatments of old ones, and problems usually center on scripts or staging. In the suburbs, directors will more likely go for the tried-and-true. While occasionally they flub the treatment, the most severe flaws in suburban shows typically lie in the acting. Do suburban stages have trouble attracting the talent performing in urban storefronts, or are their directors just not skilled enough to make the most of it? I can’t tell.

Heaven Can Wait is a perfect example. Chicago playwright Harry Segall’s 1938 classic, the basis for four films — the Academy Award-winning “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” (1941) and “Heaven Can Wait” (1978), and the two versions of “Down to Earth” in 1946 and 2001 – is a sweet, silly comedy, the unlikely story of Joe Pendleton, a 23-year-old New Jersey palooka "collected" by heaven 60 years before his allotted time, and therefore allowed to reanimate a recently murdered, crooked banker. His host body’s wife and secretary are still bent on finishing him off; he falls in love with a young woman whose father the financier has railroaded into jail; and, intent on resuming his boxing career, he enlists his deceased self’s incredulous agent, Max Levene, to book a fight for the millionaire.

The cast ranges from excellent to eh. Andrew J. Pond (recently seen in Out of Order (our review ★★★★) at Arlington Heights’ Metropolis Performing Arts Centre) plays Levene in keenly expressive comic style, smooth, natural and so far outshining the other actors that it makes you wonder what he’s doing in this show.

The rest do mostly OK, but they have an unfortunate tendency to lapse into that awkwardly self-conscious, artificial delivery I can only describe as, "Look, Ma, I’m acting!"

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Still, Ken Gayton is so adorable as Joe we can overlook that he chews the scenery as much as he pounds the punching bag. As the homicidal Mrs., Kimberley Hellem’s wonderfully mobile face makes up for her stiffness otherwise, and Brendan Hutt, as the heavenly guide Mr. Jordan, and Evan Voboril, as the murderous secretary, achieve subtlety more often than not. Probably, they’ll all loosen up as the production continues.

Director Catherine Davis’s effective staging makes the most of Attic’s small space. She has, however, taken Segall’s three-act play and reconfigured it into two, dividing the original second act in the middle, to the detriment of suspense. Whatever time savings she realized thereby were lost in slow pacing.

If not quite celestial, Heaven Can Wait still offers plenty of down-to-earth entertainment. The seats are cheap and the parking is free, so if you’re around the North Shore, have a look. You could pay more for worse in the city.

Rating:  ★★½
attic_heaven_can_wait_2 attic_heaven_can_wait_1 attic_Kimberley_Hellem__Evan_Voboril___Ken_Gayton___Heaven_Can_Wait_1_
April 20, 2010 | 1 Comment More