Posted inTheater Review

Sanctuary stories

At the crux of writer/director Kareem Fahmy’s promising but incomplete drama is a father and a daughter, whose relationship is cruelly subject to the seemingly random structures of immigration policy and international border protocols. Any reunion between Shirin (Aila Ayilam Peck) and Peyman (Rom Barkhordar) will happen at the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, […]

Posted inTheater Review

Dublin songs

Romantic regret and stubborn optimism seem as intertwined in the national character of Ireland as a Saint Brigid’s cross, and those qualities suffuse Once, the 2012 musical adapted by Irish playwright Enda Walsh from John Carney’s original 2007 screenplay of the same title. That this Irish tale, which is not quite a love story but […]

Posted inTheater Review

Practical holiday magic

Uncle Joe was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatsoever about that. The cardboard boxes littered the floor, filled with Joe’s tools, Joe’s college textbooks, Joe’s albums and manuals, Joe’s CDs, Joe’s tax returns, Joe’s unfinished projects, and all manner of Joe’s mess and memorabilia, stacked in a circle radiating outwards from a […]

Posted inTheater Review

Pecking themselves to death

Albert Chen (Christopher Thomas Pow) is sitting on a park bench eating what appears to be a burrito or a hot pocket when a hunched old man, dressed in an intersection of athleisure and preppie that signals respectability, comfort, and a baseline certainty of invisibility, shuffles in. “Hey! You Chinese?” he hollers. Albert, though he […]

Posted inTheater Review

Fields of glory

In Pearl’s Rollin’ With the Blues, Felicia P. Fields gets a showcase for her indomitable vocals. The Tony nominee (for The Color Purple) is a bona fide star in the land of musical theater, her voice an irresistible mix of low-down growling blues and clarion-clear belt. As the titular chanteuse in Writers Theatre’s world premiere […]

Posted inTheater Review

Babes with blades

Whether by design or happenstance, Writers Theatre has focused on the theme of women in competition and collaboration this season. In Eleanor Burgess’s Wife of a Salesman, two actors portraying Linda Loman and the “woman from Boston” in a contemporary riff on Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman wonder why their characters in the play-within-the-play […]

Posted inTheater Review

Meta Miller

Eleanor Burgess’s Wife of a Salesman, now in a world premiere at Writers Theatre under Jo Bonney’s direction, starts out with a “what if” premise: namely, what if Linda Loman, the long-suffering wife of Arthur Miller’s tragic American Everyman, Willy, met “the woman in Boston” with whom her husband had an affair and asked her […]

Posted inBest of Chicago

Best trajectory from ‘delightful child’ to survivalist soccer player

Sophie Thatcher Monica Vitti. Peter Ivers. Béatrice Dalle. Esoteric influences the impossibly cool Sophie Thatcher pays tribute to on her impossibly cool Instagram account, which all have me running for Wikipedia to keep up. After her breakout turn on Showtime’s Yellowjackets, this 21-year-old product of the Chicago theater scene has literally become her generation’s Juliette […]

Posted inTheater Review

Dreams of his father

Alaudin Ullah was on the cusp of something big. Well, what too often passes for something big when you’re an actor in Hollywood of South Asian ancestry—the chance to audition for the role of a terrorist in a blockbuster by a big-name director. But then Ullah got a call from his brother, telling him that […]