“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 […]

“Cardboard Piano” is the first great play of 2019

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Lara Goetsch. In the Humana Festival hit Cardboard Piano, now having its Chicago premiere at Timeline Theatre, playwright Hansol Jung explores the difficult path from outright hatred to forgiveness, and whether the latter is even possible. Set in Uganda in 2000 and 2014, the […]

Exit 63’s “Dark Matters” is a taut little family drama…with aliens

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Shea Petersen. A woman vanishes on her way home from shopping. Her frightened husband calls the police, who begin a several-days-long search for her that yields nothing. Then, suddenly, she walks back through the front door, saying she has been with aliens. Not “abducted,” […]