In “Crumbs From the Table of Joy,” a family fights its way back from death

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photos by Michael Brosilow. Like Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage’s 1995 family drama Crumbs From the Table of Joy is a memory play reflected through the mind of the oldest child of a very flawed, controlling single parent. In this case, […]

“Madness of Edgar Allan Poe” is about Poe’s life as much as his works

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member. Played out in various rooms around the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, First Folio Theatre’s The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story is a unique experience. Theatre-goers follow Edgar himself (Christian Gray) and the ghost of his wife Virginia (Erica Bittner) from place […]

“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 […]