The Man Who Came to Dinner | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Man Who Came to Dinner 

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Collage Productions' staging of Kaufman and Hart's loony love letter to Alexander Woollcott, king of the Algonquin Round Table, has lots going for it. But Adam Slagowski as Sheridan Whiteside conveys neither Woollcott's serpentine charm nor his caustic edge, and he had some difficulty remembering his lines. The pauses, paraphrases, and "ums" kept the pace at a canter at best when a gallop was needed for this screwball comedy. But the space itself--the Gunder mansion--represents a casting coup, and director Jeff Helgeson's use of it is inventive and evocative. Among the best in a strong ensemble, and most at home with the prewar idiom, are Sheila Chalakee and Tirf Alexius as the romantic leads; Clayton Horath, Jeff McVann, and Paul Perroni as walk-ons; and Helgeson as Whiteside's put-upon host. But Miaken A. Kristola outshines them all as vampy villainess Lorraine Sheldon. Through 1/16: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM. Holiday schedule varies; call for information. North Lakeside Cultural Center, 6219 N. Sheridan, 773-764-0353. $10-$12; $25 Fri 12/24 and Sun 1/16 and $50 Fri 12/31 (includes postshow receptions).

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