The Comrades’ “Roast” is an interesting concept unevenly carried out.

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Cody Jolly Photography. So here is the premise for Harry Wood’s Roast, now playing at Greenhouse Theater Center: a stand-up comic kills himself and leaves instructions that four of his friends and colleagues, along with his sister and estranged father, should (instead of a […]

Strong design work and good acting aren’t enough to make “And Then There Were None” work as well as the novel it’s based on.

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Brett Beiner. At what point do we stop producing a “classic” play that has become cliché and whose plot, while undeniably clever, may have lost its ability to thrill modern audiences? At what point do we admit that, due to its very nature, its […]

Navigators’ “Shelter” at Otherworld: If you broadcast a radio show and no one’s alive to hear it, does it still rock ‘n’ roll?

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Review by Kelly MacBlane What is survival worth to you? How hard would you fight, what would you do in order to survive? And what if there is a chance- a very good chance- that you are the last person alive on Earth? As a historian, I have always been interested in stories of survival. […]

Teatro ZinZanni zooms into Chicago with an exciting blend of cirque, comedy, and dinner

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Alan Alabastro. Sitting at the thoroughly entertaining combination of European cirque, theatrical and operatic singing, cabaret, burlesque, low comedy, and a sumptuous dinner that is Teatro ZinZanni’s Love, Chaos & Dinner, the only thought going through my mind was, “Why did it take so […]

USA OnStage NYC: A Strange Loop—Letting It All Hang Out. And Then Some

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 Review by Ed Rubin, member of American Theatre Critics Association, NYC’s Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle; photo by Joan Marcus.  In the past few years, there have been a healthy number of beautifully crafted, wonderfully acted, and solidly produced Black-centric plays both on Broadway and Off that have examined from every conceivable angle – […]

Darkness is just below the surface in the compelling “Strange Heart Beating”

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member Something mysterious and dark is brewing on the tiny stage of The Frontier, where Cloudgate Theatre is producing its second show, the haunting midwestern gothic noir Strange Heart Beating by Kristin Idaszak. Focusing on the abduction and murder of a small girl in a seemingly idyllic […]