Shaw's Animated Cartoon | The Reader's Guide Feature | Chicago Reader

Shaw's Animated Cartoon 

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Guy Adkins skips off with the show in the Writers' Theatre Chicago production of George Bernard Shaw's witty, wacky, and deliberately talky Misalliance. First performed in 1910, the play is about propriety and pretense, brains and brawn, and sex and the generation gap. Adkins, fresh from a stint as Hamlet at the Court Theatre, is compulsively watchable and utterly prissy in the role of a mismatched young aristocrat. All nervous hands and secret smiles, he nearly stops the show by going from white to danger-zone blush at will--as if all he has to do is open up the blood-pressure throttle. Also wonderful: Susan Osborne-Mott as the mother of his middle-class intended--wigged and gowned like the queen of hearts, and much too proper to discuss anything as rude as drainage. Directed by William Brown, the rest of the ensemble mines Shaw's cartoonish characters for laughs and succeeds most of the time. Joel Hatch and Jonathan Weir are a pair of old guard patriarchs; Writers' founder and artistic director Michael Halberstam plays a working-class bloke on a misguided mission; Susan Hart is an impossibly liberated woman. The minuscule back-of-the-bookstore venue has been transformed into an English garden patio by designers Geoffrey M. Curley and Ray Vlcek. Performances are at 8 Tuesday through Friday, 5 and 8:30 Saturday, and 2:30 and 6 Sunday through July 14. Tickets are $38. Writers' Theatre Chicago is located in Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon in Glencoe; call 847-242-6000.

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