Monday, June 23, 2008

The Girls in 509

A Chicago theater critic once said that the most difficult reviews are those of shows that are neither good nor bad but somewhere solidly in between.

It's easy to slam a show and easy to praise a show. What is far more difficult to write about are those shows which have their good points and have their bad points, but aren't all of either. That's pretty much how I would describe the Summer Circle production of "The Girls in 509." There was nothing about the performances that were wrong, but neither were they anything memorable or noteworthy. The play was entertaining, but not particularly thought-provoking or stimulating.

Michelle Meredith and Caitlin Inman both did fine jobs as the eccentric Republican hermits who had locked themselves in a hotel room so that they could isolate themselves from the influences of a Democratic president. Inman's Mumsie was particularly entertaining.

The character of the lawyer had the same problems that the coroner of the week before had. You paid so much attention to the device--in this case a strange voice and vocal manner--that you lost the story that was being told. It became annoying rather than amusing.

The David Lindsey-Abaire shows were, like most of his shows, rather bizarre. He's almost a playwright version of John Irving with the off-kilter ideas he conjures. Certainly they are memorable and vivid when it comes to bizarre. Both were skillfully presented.

Their final shows this week are Number the Stars based on the book by Lois Lowry and additional presentations of the late night shows Medea and Baby Food and The Other Person.

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