The Lucky Spot | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Lucky Spot 

Blue Collar Players, at Lilly's Bar

The Lucky Spot, Blue Collar Players, at Lilly's Bar. While Lilly's, the venerable Lincoln Park piano bar, could never be called bleak or depressing, its eclectic decor provides the perfect setting for an imaginative debut production of Beth Henley's The Lucky Spot, a bittersweet comedy set in a Depression-era back-country bar of the deep south. Characterized less by artsy embellishment than by its inventive use of the space, Kimberly Forsyth's staging takes the action around the horseshoe bar, up the stairs to a balcony (from which we hear the actors' voices and footfalls), and even out into the street, to the surprise of pedestrians--especially since the fiery Sue Jack chases an unfortunate comrade with a shotgun, that she wields like a club.

The results may not be subtle in any Stanislavskian sense--there's no room for nuance when actors and audience are barely an arm's length apart--but the gritty optimism of Henley's quirky vision and the Blue Collar Players' vigorous performances overcome the technical obstacles (late arrivals walking across the "stage," for example) to win us over completely.

"Some people like to fall down," declares wise fool Turnip at one point. "Keeps them from ever having to stand on their own feet." Though stumbling a bit on opening night, the sturdy-legged Blue Collar Players should soon hit their stride.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Henchpeople Jarvis Square Theater
July 09
Galleries & Museums
May 28

Popular Stories

  • Book It

    New and recent book releases from Chicago authors and publishers
  • A silence louder than words

    How allegations of sexual abuse exposed cracks in the foundation of Young Chicago Authors, Free Write Arts & Literacy, and the city’s spoken word community
  • Comedy is back, baby!

    A glimpse at how stand-ups coped during the pandemic and made their triumphant return to telling jokes again.
  • Weed Wolf, the tagger

    'No matter how lame or artsy-fartsy it is, I'll take anything over a poo-brown wall'