Uniquely staged “Dana H” takes us through one woman’s kidnapping ordeal…in her own words

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Craig Schwartz. I have been bingeing “Criminal Minds” lately, a show about a team of FBI behavioral analysts who track serial killers, kidnappers, and other criminals through profiling. Sometimes, the show being what it is, we watch a crime from the victim’s perspective. Many […]

“Whose Body” is true to its Dorothy L. Sayers origin, for better or for worse

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Jill Evans La Penna. In Dorothy L. Sayers’ 1923 novel Whose Body?, the author introduced the character of Lord Peter Wimsey, a highly intelligent aristocrat suffering from what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome upon his return from a stint in WWI that […]

“Five Presidents” imagines a prolonged conversation among five men who have been Presidents in a funny dramedy

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Michael Brosilow. On April 27, 1994, five living US Presidents (Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, and the current occupant of the White House, Bill Clinton) gathered together to attend the funeral of another member of their club, Richard Milhous […]

“Midsummer” is the brightest surprise of the year so far

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Michael Brosilow. Wow. That was pretty much my reaction to the transcendent Midsummer (A Play With Songs) by David Grieg now playing at Greenhouse Theater Center in a joint production with Proxy Theatre. Showcasing the vast talents of the inimitable Chaon Cross (who seems […]

Adults and children collide in a heartfelt Waukegan production of Spring Awakening

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Caryn Lorraine. Adults today sometimes think that the teenage obsession with sexuality and fascination about sex in general can be blamed on cable TV or on our more liberal modern culture that has given kids access to articles, images, and videos of what used […]

The Fantasticks Hits Just the Right Notes in Skokie

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Review by Beverly Friend, Ph.D, American Theater Critics Association member Nearly all plays present complications and problems in Act I and then resolve them in Act II.  Not so with The Fantasticks, though, where everything appears to be solved by intermission! Oh, there are plenty of complications in the first act.  Problems include feuding neighbors and their children […]

Tiny Story Theatre flirts with the big time in At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by The Hagens. The Story Theatre’s mission statement tells us that they “believe deeply in the grey area of life, in the complications and nuances inherent in each person, situation, and conflict.” That credo goes a long way toward explaining the company’s latest production, the […]

“Something Rotten” is a fresh and clever send-up of musicals and Shakespeare

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Liz Lauren. There are a few things you can always count on when you see a musical at Lincolnshire’s Marriott Theatre. There will be a great cast, all of whom sing and dance wonderfully. It will be brilliantly directed by someone who understands how […]