The Chalk Garden | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Chalk Garden 

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Director William Brown and a fine cast manage to find the humor in Enid Bagnold's mannered 1955 play. As the companion-governess, a woman with a secret, Tracy Michelle Arnold makes cool detachment appealing, and Steve Hinger has exuberant fun with the role of a flappable, fey manservant. Elizabeth Ledo can be charming as the precocious, pained 16-year-old, and Deanna Dunagan is entertaining as her feisty, eccentric grandmother. But the actors can't entirely compensate for the script's stiffness, and most of the minidramas taking place in this upper-crust living room (well realized by Matthew York) feel too melodramatic. Josh Schmidt's jarring sound design only increases the audience's disconnect from this 50-year-old play. Through 4/23: Tue 7:30 PM, Wed 1 and 7:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 4/9, 2:30 PM, Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 847-673-6300, $36-$54.

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