"Verböten" captures the pain and confusion of being a teen with its energetic punk soundtrack

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by Michael Brosilow. It would be difficult to conceive of a play with more anger, heart, and energy than Verböten, now playing in a world premiere by The House Theatre. Because it tells the story of a Chicago teen punk band in 1983 (a […]

USAOnStage NYC—"My Name Is Lucy Barton": Lost in Translation

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Review by Edward Rubin, member of American Theatre Critics Association, NYC’s Drama Desk, and the Outer Critics Circle; photo by Matthew Murphy  My Name Is Lucy Barton, written by Elizabeth Stout and published to a chorus of Hosannas in 2016, is now a one-woman, 2-character play, running through Saturday, February 29 at Manhattan Theatre Club’s […]

Chicago Shakespeare's Short Shakes "Comedy of Errors" gets everything right

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Review by Joe DeRosa; photo by Liz Lauren When it comes to reviewing a Shakespeare comedy about the many ways that things can go wrong–mistaken identity, ridiculously poor decision making, and the farcical way fate can scramble our lives—it’s probably a good idea to be sure the message is crystal clear, doesn’t mince words, gets […]

"Roe" knows it will be an emotional experience as it tries to present both sides of the abortion issue

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by Liz Lauren. There are many ways in which to review Lisa Loomer’s Roe, now playing at the Goodman Theatre. One could react to it according to its socio-political connotations; it is, after all, dealing with one of the most divisive issues of our […]

Court's "The Mousetrap" playfully reinvents a classic

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by Michael Brosilow. There is a reason that The Mousetrap is the longest running show in theatre history (its London production has played over 28,000 performances in 68 years), and that is because Agatha Christie’s mystery is fun. In its current revival at Court […]

"The Tasters" asks what each of us is willing to do as our world veers off course

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by Michael Brosilow. The news recently (when it hasn’t been about impeachment) has shown us some provocative photography of enormous protest marches in Hong Kong and France, people rising up against a government they do not see as representing them. Here in the modern […]

Traveling "Once on This Island" may not be the Broadway version, but it is still a lovely and emotional restaging

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by Joan Marcus. Having missed out on seeing the Tony Award-winning 2018 revival of Once on This Island on Broadway, I was very excited to see it in its traveling version, which arrived in Chicago this week. From others who did see the show […]

1982's feminist play"Top Girls" proves (sadly) still relevant today

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association; photo by Michael Courier. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise in the misogynistic age of Donald Trump that a nearly 40-year-old feminist play about the ways in which women have been disregarded throughout history still feels stunningly contemporary. One would have hoped that its […]

"Sheepdog" shows that the issue of killer cops is not simply black and white

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by Lowell Thomas. We’re barely halfway through January, and I have already seen a play that feels destined to be one of the best shows of the year. Shattered Globe Theatre’s production of Kevin Artigue’s Sheepdog is a challenging, provocative, timely two-hander that moves […]