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The Invitation Game: "The Dinner Party," at Scott Community College through November 14 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Victoria Navarro   
Monday, 09 November 2015 06:00

Shannon O'Brien, Karina Monrreal, and Hannah Murray in The Dinner PartyWhen attending a student production, I'm excited for the young performers, and hope the evening ends with the audience standing and cheering. Such were my hopes on the opening night of Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party for the Scott Community College actors , who gave it their best shot with some standout performances. But to have a great production, it helps to have great writing and a great story to tell.

 
It Was a Dark and Storied Night: "The Pillowman," at the QC Theatre Workshop through November 15 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 02 November 2015 06:00

Brody-Tucker Ford, Sam Jones, and Brooke Schelly in The PillowmanDuring Friday's performance, the QC Theatre Workshop’s The Pillowman had me in stitches. While I didn’t laugh loudly often, I did chuckle repeatedly throughout the performance, only subduing my laughs out of concern that the subject of my delight was too dark to be funny. But playwright Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy is both unquestionably dark and outrageously funny. I mean, it has a young girl (Laila Haley) who considers herself Christ-like proclaiming, “I don’t think I’m Jesus. I [effing] am Jesus!” That is some dark comedy.

 
Switching Gears: "Machinal," at Augustana College through October 25 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Jeff Ashcraft   
Monday, 19 October 2015 06:00

Debo Balogun and Christine Broughton in MachinalAt this time of the year, many people enjoy celebrating Halloween by being creeped out of their minds. Some enjoy cheesy slasher movies while others like to binge on The Walking Dead, and some religiously attend local spook houses such as Rock Island's Skellington Manor. Yet the most haunting, and even the creepiest, experience I have had in a long time happened at Augustana College's latest theatrical exploration of social justice: Machinal.

 
Trial and Tribulation: "Parade," at St. Ambrose University through October 11 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Heather Herkelman   
Sunday, 11 October 2015 12:19

Kayla Lansing and Sam Jones in ParadeWas it justice or discrimination? That is what you'll likely be asking yourself after leaving St. Ambrose University's production of Parade. It takes a mature, professional cast to pull off a musical centered around racism, bigotry, and murder, but these actors do just that. Director Daniel Rairdin-Hale brings the true story of the trial of Leo Frank and its aftermath to life in such a way that I entirely forgot I was at a student production, and Thursday night’s dress rehearsal was as close to show-ready as possible.

 
Just Call Her Angel of the Mourning: "Murder on the Rerun," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through October 11 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 05 October 2015 06:00

Sara Laufer, Stacy Herrick, Archie Williams, and Elizabeth Buzard in Murder on the RerunThere's an early point in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's Murder on the Run in which Sara Laufer's angel-to-be Kitty follows her explanation of the “rules” behind playwright Fred Carmichael's universe by saying to the audience, "I bet you're really confused, right?" Um, no. You just explained the story's rules very clearly and in great detail. And this exposes one of the flaws of Carmichael's writing: He makes sure absolutely nothing is left to the imagination. But at least the setup to this comedic murder mystery, though a bit convoluted, is kind of fascinating.

 
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