Stepping Out | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Stepping Out 

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Stepping Out, Attic Playhouse. In other variations on this familiar story, the characters are amateur athletes, actors, or male strippers. But the setting for Richard Harris's 1984 Stepping Out is a London church hall where seven matrons and one widower are learning to tap under the instruction of a retired chorine. When this motley crew of hoofers is invited to perform at a charity recital, we know immediately that secrets will be revealed and frictions will escalate as these ragtag tyros struggle to transform themselves into a unified team. We also know that everything will come out all right in the end.

Reaffirming the ideal of personal fulfillment through community activity is what makes all the variants on this fable so popular. Who's going to knock self-improvement--especially when our reward is a spectacular finale? Robin Lehtman's precise choreography for each character constitutes a subtext in itself, and Kimberly Loughlin's costumes likewise amplify our knowledge: the attention-hungry Vera sports a cat-woman unitard while the brawny Sylvia wears loud, rainbow-colored ensembles. Under the direction of Lauren Berman Rawitz, the Attic players evoke personalities so engaging that we quickly come to cheer their every--well, step.


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