Though this romance about the dangers of romance–a comedy of manners revolving around a love quadrangle–includes meditations on class and hypocrisy, it’s as fluffy as George Bernard Shaw gets. Here war is a sort of game played by cretins–like dueling, or love. This production is powered by Timothy Edward Kane’s nuanced performance as Bluntschli, the soldier with a heart of chocolate cream who doesn’t believe in war. Performing with equal parts irony and genuine emotion, then adding a dollop of drollery for good measure, Kane sets the show’s pace and tone. The other members of the quartet are the posturing Raina, her poseur fiance, Sergius, and Louka, Raina’s maid and Sergius’s doxy. Kymberly Mellen is an exceptional Louka, carrying the play’s social message with grace and irrepressible sexiness. At first, Elizabeth Ledo as Raina is jarringly artificial–then it becomes clear that that’s the point. Director William Brown elicits uniformly strong performances in a smart, charming show and scrapes away the conventions attached to Shaw like barnacles. Through 7/24: Tue-Fri 8 PM, Sat 5 and 8 PM, Sun 2:30 and 6 PM. Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Ct., Glencoe, 847-242-6000. $45-$55.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Brosilow.