When walking past the exterior of the unflattering storefront on Clark Street in Andersonville, a former laundromat, one wouldn’t give it a second glance. Perhaps a handful of classic magic posters littered around the entrance might cause pause for a brief second, but that’s about it. No marquee, no ostentatious logos, no windows to peer inside. Nothing but the words “The Magic Lounge” near its main door would suggest that maybe something is going on inside – something special.

Upon entering the laundromat – wait, it used to be a laundromat, yet a wall of washing machines are in use. All signs point to the place still being a laundromat - we see clothes freely spinning through the circular windows of each machine while an attendant holds up a pair of underwear and asks, “Are these yours? We’ve been trying to locate their owner.” But alas, suddenly a secret entrance opens and I can only compare the experience to the Wizard of Oz, when black and white becomes color.

Much like an old-timey speak easy, patrons are quickly transported from the unspectacular to the spectacular. Music is playing, the atmosphere is lively as people gather around a bar that centers around a magician performing close-up magic and challenging eager volunteers with bar bets for a free drink chip. This in itself is already something. Onlookers gaze down from a mezzanine above. We later learn these onlookers are club members – magicians only. Not long after an usher escorts us to a library, some of its contents authentic relics of a grand time when magicians like Harry Houdini, Harry Keller and Chin Ling amazed audience after audience. After a brief history lesson, the usher escorts a handful of people through another secret entrance. What we experience next is nothing short of astonishing, as we enter a vast theater laced in fine art deco finishes with high ceilings above the balcony, the floor accommodating multi-layered seating areas that surround a magnificent stage to host its magicians. No details are overlooked. Club employees are donned in clothing reminiscent of the 1920’s Jazz Era, the women in sparkling dress then men dapper with white shirts beneath vests or skinny ties and suit jackets. You can almost imagine Al Capone and friends walking in at any minute while instinctively looking for a hook to hang your fedora. The theater is appropriately named after Harry Blackstone, the famous magician who really put a stamp on “Chicago magic”, which we are reminded by the evening’s host is a real thing.

The Harry Blackstone Theater

The Magic Lounge is a time capsule. The multi-million-dollar facility is an homage to the once popular magic haunts that regularly entertained its Chicago patrons. Magic clubs that were once such a prevalent part of Chicago’s night-life since the early 1900’s, have slowly – and not so magically – disappeared.

“Chicago Magic Lounge brings back a style of magic unique to the Windy City, which once hosted over 15 bars, restaurants and lounges all dedicated to what would become known as ‘Chicago-Style Magic,’” said co-owner Joey Cranford.

It’s main stage (yes, there is another stage – the private back-room, 40-seat “654 Club” for those who don’t want the magic to end – literally) will host some of Chicago’s most talented and colorful magicians such as Luis Carreon, Dennis Watkins, Bill Weimer and Lee Benzaquin and also bring in top performers from around the world such as was the case on opening night with superstar mentalist/wizard of sorts Max Maven. the shows are as interactive as they are mind-bending. Yours truly was even called onstage to volunteer for the great Mr. Maven. The venue will also host live music fitting to its atmosphere.

While having a bite and/or pre-show drinks (try the “Sleight of Hand”) prior to the evening’s main show, magicians circle the seating area entertaining each table with close-up magic. The club’s unique air of mystery, suspense and nostalgia is something that cannot be found at any other establishment in Chicago. And why Andersonville as opposed to a downtown location? Simple. Magic Lounge owners wanted to bring the gift of magic back to Chicago, therefore opting for a neighborhood location over an area that caters more to tourists.

Magician Bill Weimer entertains in the Performance Bar

Whether just going to hang out at the bar, attending a show in the main theater, catching an act in the more intimate 654 Club – or all of the above – a distinctively rich experience awaits you.

Live entertainment will be performed seven days a week. Monday and Tuesday evenings will welcome musical performances on the mainstage, Wednesday evenings will host David Parr’s “Cabinet of Curiosities” and Thursdays through Saturdays will offer the mainstage magic shows. A family-friendly show will be offered on Sunday afternoons. Depending on the show and ticket package, theater admissions range anywhere from $10-$55, though you can always stop in for a cocktail at the performance bar.

The Magic Lounge is an exciting scene that exudes the perfect combination of class, fun and awe. If its February 22nd grand opening is any indication of things to come, it will undoubtedly become a staple in Chicago entertainment for years to come.

For more information including performance schedules, cocktail options and pricing, visit www.chicagomagiclounge.com. 5050 N. Clark Street. 

Be amazed.

 

 

Published in Theatre in Review
Monday, 05 February 2018 12:09

Review: I Puritani at Lyric Opera of Chicago

There are fewer things in theatre more exciting the curtain going up on the first act of an opera. Often there’s no ceremony or pre-recorded note from management. The lights dim and the overture begins. How enchanting to take your first look at the sumptuous sets and costumes Lyric Opera has created for this production. Pilgrim-chic you might call it. Tradition and form make opera a unique theatrical experience. On a snowy Sunday afternoon, the curtain came up on Bellini’s ‘I Puritani’, signaling to its audience, get comfortable.

Eric Einhorn’s production of Bellini’s drama runs just under four hours with two intermissions. The first act is the longest at eighty minutes. ‘I Puritani’ concerns a Puritan hamlet in which a young princess Elvira (Albina Shagimuratova) chooses another suitor, Arturo, over the pre-arranged marriage to Riccardo (Anthony Clark Evans). Just before the wedding, Arturo obliges himself to save condemned Queen Enrichetta (Lauren Decker). While he’s smuggling her out of the country, word returns to Elvira that her fiancé has run off with another woman. She is devastated and the army pursues him.

Yeah, that’s the plot. Nearly four hours to convey that relatively simple story along with Bellini’s beautiful score. This is why opera is special, because for four hours, we really don’t care what the plot is. For centuries opera was performed without the super script translations, leaving the audience to presume based on summaries in their playbills. Projected translations are used sparingly in this production of ‘I Puritani’ – maybe because the plot is so uncomplicated, they’re not necessary. In any case, they’re certainly not missed and would likely be distracting. What should be paid attention to are these beautiful singers and the gorgeous orchestra.

A significant difference between musical theatre and opera is that the leads are not expected to be great actors. Voice is most important in these roles, especially in Bellini’s works. He believed that a beautiful voice is what stirs audience emotions. He’s not wrong. Though, Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova is a good actress. She’s not heard until the second scene, but her performance is easily the most accessible aspect of this production. Her heartbreak is palpable in voice and gesture regardless of language. Act II is worth the entire afternoon.

As always, the costumes and sets are overwhelmingly beautiful. Haunting imagery is captured by the large cast numbers and soaring melodies. ‘I Puritani’ may lose the attention of its audience during the lengthy solos, but will quickly recapture focus when the whole ensemble fills the stage. Just as exciting as the curtain going up, is the curtain coming down. Opera enthusiasts scream “brava” and beg for more curtain calls, a truly opera-specific tradition. In opera, the energy of the experience sustains the art itself.

Through February 28 at Lyric Opera of Chicago. 20 N Wacker Drive. 312-827-5600

 

Published in Theatre in Review

Unlike the preamble to the constitution, you – the people – won't find any established justice or domestic tranquility in Trump's America. Enter the Anti-Trump Musical.

Last Saturday Flying Elephant Productions premiered We the People, a new musical featuring a cast of six singing original songs with music and lyrics by Leo Schwartz and book by Sean Chandler. In a little over an hour, the show revisits the Democratic and Republication national conventions, election night 2016, the immediate morning after, and the dawning chaos of what it means to live under a President Trump.

Image result for we the people the anti trump musical

The musical serves as a warning of sorts, but it is too little too late. If anything, it would likely inspire people to vote in the midterm elections, and just VOTE in general so we don't wind up in this "unpresidented" (to use a term from our current president) situation again.

Part of me wanted the show to be harsher on Trump, but I can see where too abrasive of an approach would potentially turn people off. Another part of me wanted it to be funnier, because what's more of a joke than a highly unqualified reality television star becoming one of the most powerful politicians on the planet? But the reality of that is truly frightening far more than funny. The songs convey anger, and yes, some humor, but what the show does does best is present the facts and give intelligent, level-headed commentary – something our country is in vast shortage of these days.

We the People is playing at Stage 773 at 1225 W Belmont Ave through February 10th.

Published in Theatre Reviews
Friday, 19 January 2018 13:03

She the People at Second City

With six women onstage pulling no punches and taking no shit – like The Vagina Monologues, if it were freaking hilarious – She the People is the show we need right now. Written, designed, and performed by the women of The Second City, these funny and talented actresses use their wits and comedy chops to send up sexism in advertising, politics, and pop culture.

With sketches ranging from 10 seconds to 10 minutes, She the People parodies all kinds of situations in which women regularly find themselves. A lady in a parking lot is cat-called and, hit with a sudden burst of pink light and romantic music, turns around to face her verbal assaulter, instantly in love. A group of single female wedding-goers slow-motion fight for the thrown bouquet to Mozart's Lacrimosa. A businesswoman gives a boardroom presentation in a dinosaur costume, irritated that her colleagues are focusing on what she's wearing instead of her ideas: "If Bob came up here dressed as a coelurosaurian theropod from the Cretaceous Period, nobody would bat an eye!" I bet if Bob grabbed people by the pussy, too, he would be let off the hook. 

Image result for she the people chicago

This is a refreshingly feminist show, giving women the space to share their experiences without a devil's advocate constantly undermining them. (In one sketch, a woman creates the law: Any time a man directs a sentence at a woman that starts with the word "actually," he must pay that woman a dollar. ON BOARD.)

On the other side of the same coin, the show doesn't shy away from critiquing postmodern feminism as well. A scene comes to mind of a group of twenty-somethings out to brunch discussing social issues only to constantly get distracted by, "Mimooooosaaaaas!" 

Beyond that, She the People fearlessly takes on male-dominated politics – a roomful of all-male politicians sanction laws on female healthcare while giggling at the mention of "boobs" – the sugarcoating of women in media – "I'm a woman in a maxi pad commercial, and I'm going to the emergency room because there's some blue Windex stuff coming out of me," – and systematic racism – a group of friends play a board game called "Privilege"; guess which girl gets five tokens for getting into the same Ivy League school as her parents and which gets zero tokens for getting detained at the airport for no reason.

Image result for she the people cast

So, grab your friends, male and female alike, grab a drink, and enjoy two hours of woke comedy. If you're a man and bring your girlfriend or wife to this show, she will appreciate you, not only because of the sweet date idea, but because she identifies with those women onstage, and if you hear them and understand them, you've heard and understood her.

She the People is playing at Second City's Up Comedy Club Thursdays through Sundays until April 1st. Tickets can be purchased at the box office at North & Wells or on the Second City website.

Published in Theatre Reviews

Once upon a winter’s glow,

I did venture to see a show,

A show so dark and oddly brooding, filled with misery and woe.

A new musical did appear,

At the Edge Theater it did premiere,

Nevermore:

The imaginary life and death of Edgar Allen Poe.

 

Upon the stage seven players did regale,

A musical rendition of the troubled poet’s tale,

With songs on pointe in pitch and scale,

Depicting Poe’s tragic life,

Filled with sadness, death, drunkenness, and strife

His countenance and will, through hardships made frail.

 

The cast of players did their thing,

Though some fell short when they tried to sing,

While others, like Poe! What a talent was he! whose heart and soul he did bring,

To the characters of a man both fascinating and strange,

He conveyed happiness, sadness, and showed a great range,

To the moon- which he reached- he did swing.

 

The music was ominous, and lyrics were dark,

The storyline has substance and hit the mark,

And covered all aspects of a story, that was anything but stark.

This well written piece was an enjoyable jaunt,

On a mystery of death that continues to haunt,

Their endeavor was clearly not just a lark.

 

Against many a theater I am willing to measure,

This piece and its cast did bring the audience pleasure,

It stands on its own and with some casting changes, could make a piece Chicago could treasure.

Poe is a topic du jour, many plays and stories are being written,

Of the man and his Raven whom the world still is smitten,

You’d do well to see this young play at your leisure.


Go to the theater I do implore!

To see this musical with an artistic score,

And be dazzled and delighted, by a life immortalized in lore.

This is a play I think you must see,

To the Edge Theater you must flee,

Before this play is…nevermore!

 

Nevermore- The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe! Runs through January 28th at

The Edge Theater

5451 N Broadway, Chicago

http://nevermorechicago.brownpapertickets.com

On Friday, January 19, in honor of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, audience members are invited to join us after the show for a complementary Prosecco toast to the great author and poet!

Published in Theatre Reviews

It’s fitting that the opening tune of Gobsmacked! declares, “Turn up the radio, blast your stereo right,” because the show is essentially a live jukebox. The seven performers sing and beat-box their way through songs that span the decades, from The Beatles to David Bowie to Duffy to The Black-Eyed Peas.

Hailing from the UK on its first American tour, Gobsmacked! both is and isn’t your typical a cappella show. The range of song choices is certainly wider than, say, a high school or even college a cappella show. I, for one, did not expect to hear a soulful rendition of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and a boppy “Let’s Get It Started” in the same night, much less the same hour. But, the wide range of songs notwithstanding, what the show doesn’t do is go deeper.

The hour and forty-five minute performance tried have some sort of linking theme – all the performers held paper hearts at one point except for one guy's whose was cut in half and this was never explained or brought up ever again? – but ultimately failed at being something more than just a musical showcase. Which would be fine with me, I am honestly just there for the music. I would rather see that than performers awkwardly trying to act during these non-musical transitions between songs.

Related image

The cast are all incredibly talented, to be sure. The beatboxer, Ball Zee, was amazing at single-handedly holding down the backbeat of every single song as well as providing transitional sound effects. The guy can do anything, noise-wise. While all six singers sounded fantastic and on-point, I was most impressed by the redheaded Joanne Evans. The most emotive of the vocalists, I found my eye - and ear - drawn to her frequently. Everyone onstage had the chops, but Evans was the only one I actually believed. She owned her “…Man’s World” solo, and I was shook.

All in all, if you like live music, pop tunes, and a some healthy cheesiness, like moi, Gobsmacked! will fit the bill just right.

Gobsmacked is playing at the Broadway Playhouse at 175 E. Chestnut St. through Sunday. Tickets at 800-775-2000 and broadwayinchicago.com.

Published in Theatre in Review

Lookingglass Theatre Company opens its 30th Anniversary Season with the return of the award-winning “Hard Times”, adapted from Charles Dickens and directed by Artistic Director and Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman , in association with The Actors Gymnasuim. It was first produced at Lookingglass in 2001, and some of the artists involved this season were part of the original production.

The story takes place in post-Industrial Revolution England. In a gloomy fictional small town dominated by mills and factories, art has very little presence. When a travelling circus comes to town, the circus clown manages to get his daughter Sissy (played Audrey Anderson; this is both her Lookingglass and professional debut) admitted to the best school in town. The school headmaster, Mr. Gradgrind (injecting his role with a very precise old-British flare, Raymond Fox is excellent), soon realizes that Sissy doesn’t belong in his school and makes it his business to notify her father in person. But the clown had skipped town, leaving his daughter behind. Mr. Gradgrind kindly offers her a place in his home and his school, alongside his two children, Louisa and Tom. But Sissy is from a different world, the world where imagination rules, the right words are ones that come from the heart, and mathematics is just an abstract subject that can’t be applied to life. Not exactly cut out for school, she’s left to stay home and care for Mr. Gradgrind’s wheelchair-bound wife while he spends increasingly more time out of town as a newly elected member of the Parliament.

The most important person in town is the mill-owner and banker Mr. Bounderby (the bombastic Troy West), a self-proclaimed self-made man. He has an eye on Louisa, so when she reaches an appropriate age [of twenty], he asks her hand in marriage. Mostly joyless Louisa (Cordelia Dewdney), whose only passion is her brother Tom (JJ Phillips), agrees, hoping that this will help advance her brother’s carrier in banking. Some of Dickens’ characters are quite difficult to relate to in part because of their excessive wordiness and overly dramatic demeanor, and Louisa is certainly one of them. Nevertheless, all characters are very well developed, the most entertaining of them being Mrs. Sparsit, Mr. Bounderby’s paid companion. Played by Amy J. Carle, who also plays Drunk Woman and Pufflerumpus, she’s manipulative and sarcastic and infuses her role with just the right amount of drama.

The circus performances are effortlessly woven into the plot (Circus Choreographer Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi), and are like a breath of fresh air in town’s otherwise utilitarian existence. The circus is colorful and joyful, and it’s easy to see the stark contrast between the worlds of art and creativity versus business and hard menial work. Even Louisa starts dreaming of circus in her lowest moments.
Scenic Designer Daniel Ostling created a highly mobile set that’s both imaginative and practical; it provides ever-changing scenery, and the whimsically painted back wall is capable of becoming magically translucent to allow “dreams and memories” to enter the stage.

While the well-to-do townspeople are being bored with their lives, majority of the town’s inhabitants, the poor miners and factory workers, “work day and night with nothing to look forward to but a little rest”. Struggling to stay alive leaves little room for anything else, much less romance, so when miner Stephen Blackpool (David Catlin, who also plays Sleary) asks his workmate Rachael (Atra Asdou, who also plays Mrs. Gradgrind) to spend time with him, she’s far too hopeless to be interested.

All in all, things are as expected: the wealthy run things, the poor have nothing, and a travelling circus is a refuge from it all. If running away with the circus was ever a good option, Tom, who finds himself in trouble with law, doesn’t hesitate for a moment.

“Hard Times” is being performed at Lookingglass Theatre through January 14th. For more information visit www.lookingglass.org.

Published in Theatre in Review
Monday, 16 October 2017 12:08

BLUE MAN GROUP CELEBRATES 20th BIRTHDAY!

With two decades in its home at Lakeview’s Briar Street Theater under its belt, Blue Man Group is still going strong. The show can best be described as a bizarre, performance-arty take on STOMP, with both running about 90 minutes without an intermission, both featuring silent performers, both utilizing homemade percussion instruments, and both inciting audiences to go, “What the hell did I just see?”

Blue Man Group was founded in New York in 1991 by three friends: Chris Wink, an artist and drummer, Phil Stanton, a DIY designer and builder, and Matt Goldman, an entrepreneur and software developer. All three have been nominated for Grammys for their musical work on Blue Man Group.

Even after twenty years, Blue Man Group’s uniqueness keeps people coming back. For a show that has become such a staple, it is still unlike any of its theatrical peers, i.e. musicals, plays, operas. And for good reason. What other mainstream theatrical production features paintings created live onstage, quirky feats like seeing a performer catch dozens of marshmallows in his mouth, surprisingly funny, albeit silent, sketches with deer-in-the-headlights audience participants, and tons of cool, otherwordly, Pink Floyd-esque music being played live right in front of you?

A rundown of the materials used for each show should give some idea (or not) as to what a BMG audience is in for. Each week the three Blue Men go through the following materials: 32 pounds of Jell-O, 8 boxes of Cap'n Crunch, 385 marshmallows, 40 pieces of white chocolate Toblerone, 44 boxes of Twinkie Lights, 60 drum heads, 64 drumsticks, and 28 cakes of blue makeup made specially for BMG -- they even have their own proprietary color called "Blue Man Blue."

The 20th birthday performance featured some minor add-ons from the regular BMG show. One of the pieces of art created live onstage during the show via paint being spit out of one of the Blue Men’s mouths revealed “20!” in big white text, while there were lots of treats for the audience like tote-bags, various SWAG, and custom Sprinkles cupcakes.

It's clear why the indefinable show has continued to dazzle audiences across the country for twenty years, and as long as this city remains a vibrant hub for entertainment, Blue Man Group will have a welcome home in Chicago.

You can catch Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theater at 3133 N Halsted St on Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets on Ticketmaster.

Published in Theatre Reviews

Hell in a Handbag rings in its fifteenth-anniversary season with real magic in this hilarious spoof of the 60's and 70's TV shows we all grew up loving with its hocus-pocus focus on the show Bewitched

In this tale, Bewildered, by Aaron Benham (music and lyrics) and Ron Weaver (book and lyrics) Gladys Kravitz, the nosey neighbor of the magical family finally gets her due when she stops spying on the witch-filled household and is invited to have dinner with them. Caitlin Jackson as Gladys is splendid as she has both the musical chops to belt out every note with ease and turn the obnoxious neighbor into a sympathetic "every- woman" who feels unloved as a wife and disrespected as a person. As Gladys discovers in the surprise ending that she is magical too, her song "Leading Lady" reminds everyone in the audience to be true to themselves no matter who they are because in the end, we are ALL the leading ladies in our own lives. 

David Cerda, Hell in a Handbag, artistic director as Endora is truly at his best in this FABULOUSLY funny portrayal of Samantha's mother and steals every scene under his wig with a bat of his eyelashes and a twirl of the spectacular multi-faceted bejeweled caftans designed by Rachel Sypniewski with spot on funny as hell period wigs by Keith Ryan. Cerda as Endorra also reminds us of the ongoing plot line in the original series wherein she tries to get Samantha to leave her straight laced, sexually uninterested husband and choose from among thousands of eligible warlocks where she could live a life of magic and freedom! Instead Samantha chooses the daily humdrum dimension of the limited earth life with all its cold rules and regulations for women and men which don’t include the use of magic.

Elizabeth Morgan is adorable as Samantha and has a nice voice but needs to step out a little more with her nose twitching delightfully -  in order to keep up with the shine and glamour of wit coming full blast out of the regular cast members of Hell in a Handbag. 

As always, Ed Jones' highly anticipated presence in the show does not disappoint as Uncle Arthur and absolutely brings down the house while setting up the main story line with his wonderful rendition of "Let Yourself be a Little Gay!" Ed Jones and  David Cerda really seem to have studied their characters minute mannerisms and trademark funny bits to a tee and several times I squint my eyes and could have sworn they were channeling the original brilliant actors and actresses who played these roles on TV.  

The production handles the magic wielded by Samantha and company in a unique fashion that adds yet another jolt of humor to its audience. Bewildered also has fun with the mystery of the two Darrins who play Samantha's husbands on Bewitched in a very clever way that just has to be seen to be appreciated. 

The great thing about the superbly camp productions put on year after year by Hell in a Handbag is that no matter how bawdy they are, or how many lines of individuality they cross, they always have a positive moral underlying each show that makes you feel "pretty oh, so pretty!" in the skin that you are in!

I highly recommend seeing this fun-tastic, fast-flying production for everyone who needs a good jolt of laughter and positive affirmation about the life you are leading in these strange and hostile times.

Bewildered is being performed at Stage 773 through November 11th. For more show information visit www.handbagproductions.org.  

 

Published in Theatre in Review

Set in the 18th century French countryside, First Folio Theatre vividly brings to life Joseph Zettelmaier’s “The Man-Beast”, a romantic, yet frightening, tale just in time for the Halloween season. The final installment of Zettelmaier’s horror trilogy, “The Man-Beast” follows first works “The Gravedigger” and “Dr. Seward’s Dracula” and, staying true to form, steadily builds in suspense from its first scene to the story’s climactic ending. Staged ever so appropriately inside the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oakbrook, theatre goers are in for a spooky treat that is as sexy as it is haunting.

When a werewolf ravages the countryside, no one is safe. A trail of blood leaves local villagers dead along with an escalating amount of livestock. It is then that King Louis XVI puts a bounty on the beast in the hopes the threat can be eliminated once and for all. The villagers believe the beast to be Loup-Garou, the legendary werewolf who has terrorized the countryside in the past.

The story begins when trapper Jean Chastel bangs on the door of Virginia Allard. He is hurt having suffered a bite from the beast that he believes he has killed, though the animal seems to have vanished. Allard lives alone in the forest, her house decorated with dead animals that she herself had stuffed, her kitchen shelves cluttered with bottles of herbs, wood burns in her fireplace creating a flickering glow throughout the room. The “Witch of the Woods” as she jokingly calls herself is not one to take chances as she carries a large hunting knife on her person.

After Allard tends to Chastel’s wounds we see a tumultuous relationship between the two develop, as well as a plan to cash in on the large reward. But both are cautious and struggle to trust each other, having been betrayed in the past. We wonder if either will hold true to their word.

Filled with mystery, suspense and mounting sexual tension, “The Man-Beast” works well thanks to its powerful cast of two, Elizabeth Laidlaw as Virginia Allard and Aaron Christensen as Jean Chastel. Laidlaw, whose theatre credits include Steppenwolf, The Goodman and many others, is nothing short of sensational offering several scenes filled with an electricity that would be hard to match. Laidlaw’s counterpart, Christensen, also puts forth a fierce performance and the chemistry between the two is undeniable. Hayley Rice skillfully directs this classic piece, strategically getting the most in the play’s finishing touches from a talented artistic team that includes Angela Weber Miller (Scenic Design), Christopher Kriz (Sound Design), Rachel Lambert (Costume Design) Vivian Knouse (Properties Design), Rachel Flesher (Violence Design) and Julia Zayas-Melendez (Stage Manager).

Played with much ferocity and passion, the performances we get from Laidlaw and Christensen are alone well worth the price of admission. When you add a story that is sure to engage even the most casual of horror fans from beginning to end and a creative set that visually takes us miles away and so easily nudges our imagination in just the right way, we are presented with a production that has all the ingredients needed to promise a thoroughly entertaining theatrical Halloween event.

Highly recommended. *Parental discretion is advised due to a handful of racy scenes.

First Folio’s “The Man-Beast” is being performed at Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oakbrook through November 5th. For tickets and/or more production information, visit www.firstfolio.org.

 

Published in Theatre in Review
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