Marlowe | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Marlowe 

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Renaissance radical Christopher Marlowe led a juicy life: a gay atheist, he was a probable Catholic sympathizer working for Queen Elizabeth's secret service to rout out Catholic sympathizers. So it's hard to understand why Harlan Didrickson took such liberties with history in this world-premiere bioplay. Although at first he adheres closely to encyclopedic fact, making the play feel like a staged master's thesis, gradually he begins to pile on the fictions. For example, rather than being caught in a web of spies and counterspies--the quagmire that probably led to his murder at age 29--Marlowe is caught in a love triangle with spy master Sir Francis Walsingham (who actually died three years before him) and the queen. Didrickson's inventions grow increasingly implausible, then culminate in a delusional finale; despite director David Zak's brisk pacing and bright cast, this two-hour fantasy pales next to the truth. Through 7/17: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM. No show Sun 6/26. Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-883-1090. $22-$25.

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