“Gentleman’s Guide” warms the Porchlight Theatre with dark, silly fun

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Michael Courier. Take the revenge fantasy of Sweeney Todd and blend it with the silliness and absurd comedy of The Mystery of Edward Drood and you might have something like A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the wonderfully engaging and entertaining musical now […]

“How to Catch Creation” is a witty, engaging look at creation in all forms

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Liz Lauren. “Creation is hard work.” That thought is at the core of How to Catch Creation by Christina Anderson. Whether one is creating a book, a painting, a relationship, or a family, creation takes time, patience, and focus…or perhaps it takes marvelous serendipity. […]

“Photograph 51” explores the race to understand DNA

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Michael Brosilow. Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler, now playing at the Court Theatre, has a difficult task: rendering complex scientific research as tragedy. The play concerns the pioneering work of Dr. Rosalind Franklin, whose King’s College x-ray photographs of DNA (particularly one labeled Photo […]

“In the Blood” is a dark, powerful allegory that won’t let you go

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Austin D. Oie. There were a few times during Red Tape Theatre’s opening night of Suzan-Lori Parks’ In the Blood when audience members laughed. But Parks’ overwhelming drama is anything but funny; rather, she rips your soul out through your eyes and ears as […]

“Million Dollar Quartet” warms the Marriott Theatre with rock and roll

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member. Million Dollar Quartet, now playing at Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, tells the story of a magical night in 1956 when Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis all got together at Sun Records during a Perkins recording session and jammed for Sam Phillips, also […]

Will Eno’s “The Realistic Joneses” comes to humorous life at Theater Wit

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Evan Hanover. “It’s such a pretty night. It’s so quiet. You can almost hear the clouds go by.” This line, near the beginning of Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses, now playing at Theatre Wit in a joint production with Shattered Globe, is somewhat emblematic […]

“Noises Off” is a breath of comic fresh air

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Michael Brosilow. Since it was written in 1982, Michael Frayn’s Noises Off can arguably be said to set the modern theatrical standard for farce. This play-within-a-play follows a (fairly inept) theatre troupe as it presents its latest touring show, Nothing On. You don’t need […]