A Life Extra Ordinary | Gift Theatre Company | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Cyd Blakewell

Cyd Blakewell

Claire Demos

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 20 2016
Price: $35, $25 seniors
Melissa Ross's new drama, in which Annabel, a recently murdered young woman, escorts an audience through high and low points in her truncated small-town life, is pregnant with possibility. For much of act one, it's both a singularly melancholy crime procedural and a millennial Our Town. Act two ruminates on the mundane yet consequential choices we make in the name of love. But dramatically, the play is a nonstarter; the murder mystery lacks intrigue, and the veneration of ordinary life is too pat by half. Still, director John Gawlik's contemplative production has warmth and sincerity to spare. While a couple of performances feel oversize for the Gift Theatre's intimate space, as Annabel, Cyd Blakewell shows yet again how much resonance understatement can contain. —Justin Hayford

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