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Copernicus Center (map)
5216 W. Lawrence Ave.
Jefferson Park
phone 773-777-8898

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Copernicus Center (map)
5216 W. Lawrence Ave.
Jefferson Park
phone 773-777-8898

Tools

Thinner Than Water

4/3-5/25: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM

Playwright Melissa Ross has a gift for creating vivid, believable characters. So do the folks at the Gift Theatre, as evidence by this riveting production, packed with pitch-perfect performances. For two solid hours we watch an unhappy trio of selfish, emotionally stunted adult siblings bicker, bite, and slowly fall apart as their despised father slowly dies of cancer. It's not an easy play to watch—especially on a beautiful spring day—but Ross captures well the downward spiral of three characters who hate themselves almost as much as they despise each other. John Gawlik's direction is inspired, and his ensemble, led by Brittany Burch, Lynda Newton, and Michael Patrick Thornton, astonishes with one virtuoso display after another. —Jack Helbig $20-$35

Gift Theatre Company (map)
4802 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Jefferson Park
phone 773-283-7071

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Natural Gas

Open run: Wed 8 PM

The quality of an improv show is directly proportional to the quality of the improvisers who create it. Put together a group of kids who know nothing about the world—or themselves—and you get a lot of cliches and imitations of bad TV. Put together an ensemble of strong, experienced actors who happen also to like to improvise and you have the optimal conditions for a piece filled with well-articulated characters in amusing relationships and interesting situations. That latter was the case with Natural Gas, the Gift Theatre's house improv team, on the night I saw them. As in every improvisation, not every moment worked, and some actors made basic mistakes, like introducing inconsistencies. All the same, their show contained more than the usual moments of spontaneous delight—and occasional splashes of pure inspiration. —Jack Helbig $5

Gift Theatre Company (map)
4802 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Jefferson Park
phone 773-283-7071

Tools

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