Glenview’s Oil Lamp Theatre shines a light on seldom-produced “Jake’s Women”

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Review by Kelly MacBlane After attending Oil Lamp Theater’s production of Jake’s Women last weekend, I had the privilege of sharing drinks with some fellow theater professionals, giving us the opportunity to talk about the show we had just seen. “Was that really a Neil Simon play?” someone asked. ‘It wasn’t really like any Neil […]

Technical issues mar an otherwise strong “A Raisin in the Sun”

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association, photo by Brian McConkey. Great tech can enhance a theatrical experience. A brilliant use of lighting, a particularly outstanding set, sound design that puts us in the middle of the action: these things can make a good show even better. Bad tech, on the other […]

My relationship to “A Doll’s House,” and how that affects my reaction to Raven Theatre’s production

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This article is by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association, in response to Raven Theatre’s production of A Doll’s House. It isn’t technically a review, though there is a review incorporated within it. It’s more of an extended explanation of why I reacted the way I did to this production despite the clear […]

“Shear Madness” is every bit as much fun today as it was thirty years ago

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by Brett Beiner. I have fond memories of seeing Shear Madness during its original 17-year-long Chicago run in the 80s and 90s, so I was definitely looking forward to Mercury Theater’s revival of this audience-participation comic whodunnit. I was not at all disappointed. Updated […]

“Veronica’s Room” is a fun puzzle in which things are not as they appear to be

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by MadKap Productions. Veronica’s Room is a 1973 mystery by Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, Deathtrap) now being staged by Skokie’s MadKap Productions that explores the precarious relationships between reality and fantasy or madness. Directed by Stephen M. Genovese, the play puts the audience in […]

Elaine May’s cynical, hilarious “Adaptation” shows us the absurdity of life

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by Tyler Core. Elaine May’s 1968 one-act Adaptation took a comical look at the stages of life from birth to death, adapting them to fit the format of a board game. The result is a very silly, enjoyable romp that Rogers Park’s Theatre Above […]

“Roan @ the Gates” focuses on the personal impact of whistleblowing

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by Michael Brosilow. Everyone has skipped over the user agreements that are now ubiquitous pop-up annoyances no matter what you want to do on your computer. And we all have had the experience of ads and messages popping up online relating to things we […]

Immersive “The Boys in the Band” invites you to come to the party

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by Michael Brosilow. Windy City Playhouse has rapidly become synonymous with “immersive theater” ever since its opening of Southern Gothic two years ago, and now, with its mounting of Mart Crowley’s iconic 1968 play The Boys in the Band (the one-act version recently revived […]