“This Bitter Earth” is easily one of the best plays of 2018

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Liz Lauren. We’re living in a highly charged political age, but perhaps there is no single issue (unless you count the President as an “issue”) more polarizing in the country than one that should have been relegated to the history books half a century […]

Writers Theatre’s “Twelfth Night” brings both silliness and pathos to the Bard’s greatest comedy

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Michael Brosilow. Watching William Brown assay the role of Feste in Writers Theatre’s new production of Twelfth Night is an absolute joy. Brown’s physical presence and powerful voice add layers to the iconic role of Shakespeare’s witty and thoughtful fool who lies at the […]

“Wife Material”: Jamie Shriner’s racy, funny, poignant autobiographical tale

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Evan Hanover.   Think about what a musical means to you. Chances are you immediately thought of (possibly catchy) songs, interesting characters, and a story to tell. What you probably didn’t think is the sex-forward autobiography of a young woman from Indiana, but that’s […]

Manual Cinema’s “Frankenstein” at Court Theatre is a complex visual treat

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Michael Brosilow. If you are not familiar with Manual Cinema’s work, the production of Frankenstein now at the Court Theatre might come as a bit of a shock. For most of a decade now, Manual Cinema has been presenting elaborate multimedia shows using such […]

Blue Man Group adds new content but remains as entertaining as ever

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Eric Klein. Since 1997, Blue Man Group has been entertaining crowds of Chicagoans and tourists at the Briar Street Theatre. Performance artists don’t get that kind of longevity without changing up their show every once in a while, and this week BMG introduced a […]

Invictus Theatre’s Love’s Labour’s Lost delivers on the linguistic beauty of Shakespeare

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By Kelly MacBlane It was like a spoken song. That was how my ears heard the language of Shakespeare ebbing and flowing from the mouths of the skilled actors on the intimate, Chicago storefront theater stage. With little knowledge of the show other than the basic plot, I found myself falling into a trance of […]