“Indecent” is a powerful, timely reminder of the need to act decently

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photos by Michael Brosilow. In an era when America is sadly renewing both its (previously hidden) xenophobia and its prejudices against LGBT people, Paula Vogel’s 2015 play  Indecent seems frighteningly prescient. Indecent, just opened at the Victory Gardens Theatre in its Chicago premiere, tells the true […]

CST’s “Nell Gwynn” is a brilliant comic romp

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photos by Liz Lauren. There is quite a way to go and many excellent choices already, but there is a new front-runner for best play of 2018 in Chicago. Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s Nell Gwynn is thoroughly entertaining, exquisitely costumed, winningly directed and brilliantly performed. It is […]

“Caroline, or Change’ is anchored by a powerful performance

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photos by Marisa KM. It isn’t often that you see a musical in which the main character scowls for pretty much the whole show, but in Caroline, or Change, the title character has plenty to scowl about. Played by Rashada Dawan in a transcendent performance, Caroline […]

Lifeline’s gender-switched “Frankenstein” is a brilliant, dark take on the original

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photos by Suzanne Plunkett. In this, the 200th anniversary of the writing of the classic novel Frankenstein, there will be no fewer than four distinct productions based on Mary Shelley’s emotional Gothic thriller. The rest of them will need to go a long way to be […]