The Best Man | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Best Man 

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The hero of Gore Vidal's biting drama complains that politics is about "personalities instead of policies." But this 1960 Broadway hit about two political rivals--witty, conscientious intellectual Bill Russell and ruthless pseudopopulist Joe Cantwell--proves that in politics, personality is the issue. When Cantwell sets out to use Russell's past psychiatric treatment against him, Russell must decide whether to release evidence Cantwell is gay--and we must decide whether we want Russell to play dirty and win or play clean and lose. The final plot twist still provokes gasps, and Vidal's pointed, sometimes bitchy dialogue enhances the conflict, rooted in the characters' complexities. James Bohnen's solid revival for Remy Bumppo Theatre Company boasts a splendid cast led by David Darlow as the genial but aloof Russell, James Krag as the predatory Cantwell, and Annabel Armour as Russell's chilly but dutiful wife. a Through 11/5: Wed-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM, Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater, second-floor main stage, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000, $35-$40.

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