True West | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

True West 

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I've seen this play so many times I can practically repeat the lines with the actors. Sam Shepard's 1980 drama about the reunion of two brothers, one a weak, respectable suburbanite and the other an untamed animal, is frequently revived, usually by recent college graduates. Seldom has it been done by anyone, however, as well as it is by the Hypocrites in this smartly directed, intensely acted production. Key to its success are two young but seasoned actors, Brad Harbaugh and Paul Noble. Too often the brothers are played by performers so out of sync with each other that they don't seem like members of the same species, much less the same family. But with these two, every glance and gesture and word they exchange seethes with a lifetime of unfinished business. Noble in particular plays the volatile, deeply wounded Lee with such half-hidden menace and fury you don't dare take your eyes off him for fear he'll pounce. Yet for all his magnetism, he never goes over the top. The direction, too, is first-rate. Geoff Button avoids the self-indulgent pauses that bloat neophyte productions--the actors strike fast and hard, performing the piece at such a clip you don't have time to think. Through 5/22: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 312-409-5578. $15-$20.

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