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Performing Arts Next 30 Days

4 total results

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Through 3/28: Fri-Sat 8 PM

If your new theater company doesn't have the budget for fairy wings and fauna, you can always fall back on Shakespeare's language, a delicate thing equal parts poetic and crude, romantic and revelatory. Alas, both fauna and faith to the Bard fall flat in this production from the fledgling Lightninghead. Cofounder Scott McKinsey, who also directs, has a history of pulling off promenade-style productions, but this one's decidedly static. It's partly the space: the vaulted walls of Winnetka Chapel make an intimate staging tricky. But they’re not at fault for blocking the actors, who are continually trapped in a boring triangle in the middle of the room. Those same actors brutally ad lib over the lines of the play, which end up sounding like so much gargled mouthwash spit down the sink, save for Janet Magnuson’s Peter Quince, whose speech is as crisp as her intentions are clear.—Chloe Riley $20

http://lightninghead.com
Winnetka Community House (map)
620 Lincoln Ave.
Other Suburbs North
phone 847-604-0275

Outside Mullingar

Through 4/19: Tue and Thu 7:30 PM, Wed 1 and 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2:30 and 8 PM, Sun 2:30 and 7 PM

John Patrick Shanley brings us another play stocked with witty misfits and eloquent losers. The action is set in rural Ireland, but the issues—love, life, fear, loneliness, death—remain the same as those he explores in better-known New York-based works like Doubt (2004) and Moonstruck (1987). Age seems to have mellowed him and deepened his latest play, just off Broadway, a moving comedy-romance whose last 15 minutes are sublime. For this Northlight production director BJ Jones has enlisted A-list performers who know how to bring the best out of the script; Kate Fry in particular shines as that trademark Shanley character, the strong but scarred woman emotionally entangled with a weak, distant man who's afraid to grow up, here ably played by Mark Montgomery. —Jack Helbig $25-$78

Northlight Theatre (map)
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd.
Skokie
phone 847-673-6300

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The Diary of Anne Frank

Through 6/28: Tue-Wed 7:30 PM, Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 4 and 8 PM, Sun 2 and 6 PM

In this Writers Theater production, based on Wendy Kesselman’s 1997 adaptation of the 1955 stage play, director Kimberly Senior lays a firm groundwork but ultimately misses the mark. We start promisingly enough, with a set replicating the secret annex where eight people searched in vain for normalcy amid the depredations of the Nazi era. As Anne, Sophie Thatcher has mastered the art of flitting about, but she can’t enliven the show’s wooden diary passages, which quickly begin to feel like the device they are, diffusing the play’s mounting tension. And while I’d argue there’s a certain solemnity involved in portraying Anne’s father, Otto Frank, a man weighed down by sacrifice, Sean Fortunato treats the part with unsettling frivolity and casualness. Ultimately, the play itself is limited by the 1950s optimism that colors Anne’s complex wartime reflections. A production can only work with what it’s got. —Chloe Riley $35-$70

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Kafein Espresso Bar

Open run: Mon 8:30 PM
phone 847-491-1621

With hosts Chris and Kirill.

Kafein (map)
1621 Chicago Ave.
Evanston
phone 847-491-1621

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