“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,” […]

“I Call My Brothers” is a compelling examination of how hatred can affect an individual

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Emily Schwartz. As I left the Rivendell Theatre after watching the premiere of Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s I Call My Brothers, a powerful look at the way our society rushes to judge all people of the same color, religion, or ethnicity (in this case Muslim) […]

CST’S “Midsummer Night’s Dream” perfect to warm midwinter nights

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Liz Lauren. Singing and dancing fairies. Giant Hieronymus Bosch-influenced flowers. A Puck who appears in midair. Half-naked lovers. A gigantic sluice in the middle of the forest. Joe Dowling’s tenth time directing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream brings the classic comedy into the 21st […]