C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert | Mercury Theater Chicago | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Max McLean

Max McLean

Jeremy Daniel

C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 14 2016
Price: $55-$59
Playwright, actor, and codirector Max McLean’s one-hander about the amiable, mildly witty English writer C. S. Lewis looks wonderful. The set, replete with rich hardwoods, perfectly creates the feel of a fussy Oxford don's office. And McLean's costume (scarf, coat, tweed jacket, vest, tie, slightly rumpled trousers) screams tweedy, hobbit-like, and emotionally cold. But there's little drama in this drama. McLean underplays the major crises in Lewis’s life, most notably his battlefield traumas in WW I, while repeating Wikipedia style the key facts of the writer's biography. Even Lewis’s conversion from atheism to Christianity lacks fire. True, this choice to some extent reflects Lewis’s own wry, understated account of his religious beliefs. Still, passion smolders behind Lewis's diffidence—a passion wholly missing here. —Jack Helbig

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