Impressive! Nomi Dance Company Presents Ten Yeared at Athenaeum Theatre (May 20, 2017)

It’s the 10 year anniversary for the Nomi Dance Company and they have put together quite a show. It’s an impressive collection of pieces and it’s crazy that it only happens one night. It could surely run for a full week! Here are some of the highlights of the night:

 Bite Your Tongue

The dancers appear in full suits and dance to “Dangerous” by the xx. It’s a fantastic song choice and the contemporary dancing matches it perfectly. It’s a great start to the second half.

Going Crazy Pt 1 – Interlude

“I am going slowly crazy” by Dr. Jean Feldman is a song for kids. The dancers act like kids losing their minds. It’s a funny and strange piece.

Boiling Point

 The song used, “Under” by Ellen Allien & Apparat, is an electronic dance song. The sleek dancing and slick lighting together with this music make for a visually stunning performance.

Begin Again

The dancers are once again in their suits as “Make Me Lovely” by Laura Mvula plays. It’s a great finale to the show!

A compilation of rehearsal videos

Quinn Delaney

Review: Irish Theatre of Chicago Presents My Way Residential at the Den Theatre (May 19, 2017)

“I’m not spending one night in this hell hole!” says Willa, a 78 year old woman from Galway about the nursing home she has just entered. Her daughter, Catherine, has other ideas. She is tired of caring for her mother and has more exciting affairs to tend to. Byron is a 24 year old South African working at the nursing home because it is one of the few places he can work without immigration papers. Initially, Willa is very hostile to everyone at the home, including Byron. However, Byron persists and tries to form a kinship with her.

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The entire cast is great. Carolyn Kruse (who also starred in Spinning) plays the role of the annoyed daughter fantastically. Belinda Bremner is delightful as Willa showing her displeasure with her situation. Christine Bunuan is excellent as Sister Chang. She lays down the rules and derives great pleasure in enforcing them. Jeff Christian plays the husband of Catherine with a surprise up his sleeve. Lastly, Terry Bell is the star of the show as Byron. It’s very dramatic when he tells his backstory and his acting is spot on.

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Get tickets now for The My Way Residential through June 25!

Quinn Delaney

Top 5 Moments of Erik and Jessie and Everyone You Know at The Den Theatre (May 15, 2017)

This evening felt like a large gathering of talented friends playing music together and celebrating the arrival of summer at a memorial day BBQ. It was an incredibly joyous event and everyone was happy to be there. Here five of the best moments:

  1. Erik and Jessie and Everyone You Know play a fantastic tribute to Chuck Berry – “You Never Can Tell”. And yes, it is that song from Pulp Fiction.
  1. Diego Colon of Diego Sol & The Metronomes was excellent. See their tiny desk video here:

  1. Cruz Gonzalez Cadel leading everyone in a Latin dance party which started with “Barbie Girl” by Aqua. This demonstrated what a great audience was in attendance as everyone got up to dance.

4. Erica Elam and Jesse Case performing Musical Improv about Dr. Robinson!

  1. E&J&EYK play “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder!

Catch Erik And Jessie next at Steppenwolf on June 19th!

Quinn Delaney

 

Fun and Challenging! Operation G.R.A.N.I.E. at Escape Artistry (May 13, 2017)

A special agent has gone off the grid and retired agents, like Granny, are being reactivated to help find her. A metal container which holds the key is locked shut by 9 different locks. The combinations and keys can be found by searching the room for clues. The clues involve chess, a globe, rugs, glass, silverware, a Lazy Susan, a piano, and many more things you’d find in a grandmother’s apartment. There are also a lot of things that are not used, which makes this room challenging.

Escape-Artistry-Logo-Circular

Team Granny Lovers consisted of 9 agents with a good amount of previous experience. They worked together well and were able to escape just in the nick of time using the three clues allowed. The guide did an excellent job giving us just enough of a hint to lead to the answers.

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Book your escape now for Operation G.R.A.N.I.E!

Quinn Delaney

Also, see our review for The Railcar!

Hilarious! Second City Presents Legendary Laughs with Thunderbolt Axe Throwing at Up Comedy Club (May 11, 2017)

“Can we get a volunteer?” asks Tim Ryder (who was also in The Second City Guide to the Opera). The audience is silent and still. For most people, the idea of going on stage is terrifying. However, after you have taken a few improv classes at the Second City Training Center, it doesn’t seem daunting at all. So, I raise my hand. Ryder looks relieved as he invites me to come on stage. I take a seat center stage and he asks me where I live. “Wicker Park. I live with one roommate and we’re looking for one more.” Mark Campbell steps forward and says he is looking for a new place to live. “What are the requirements to move in?” I reply, “You must be able to pay rent and be a dog lover.” He shakes his head and pulls back. Was it the paying rent or the dog part that he didn’t like?

Later on, Tim asks what I do for a living. “I’m starting a new business, axe throwing!” I can see everyone looks confused. “It’s like darts, but with axes.” Brooke Breit steps forward and asks if there is alcohol involved. “At this time, there is no alcohol. However, it is something we are looking into.” Tim then says “So, it’s like bowling where you rent a lane?” “Yes, exactly.” So, what’s it called, he asks? “Thunderbolt Chicago Axe Throwing!”

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I leave the stage and they proceed to do an improvised scene called “A day in the life of Quinn”. An actor wakes up to an axe being thrown over his bed by Ryder. “Sorry about that. Just getting a few throws in this morning.” “Well, I did put that target right next to my bed.” Brooke then enters barking and growling like a dog. “Oh no, another Craigslist applicant!” The audience cracks up! Callbacks to Thunderbolt occur throughout the rest of the right as this talented cast flexes their improv chops.

Get tickets now for Legendary Laughs on Thursdays at 7. Volunteer and you can have a scene created about you!

Quinn Delaney

Exciting! Hubbard Street Dance Presents dance(e)volve at the MCA (May 10, 2017)

Cadence

Before the official start time, the dancers begin coming on to the stage to stretch. They’re casually talking to each other and warming up while wearing workout type clothes. This gradually progresses into a performance which is very casual and feels like watching a rehearsal. At one point, a bunch of them start singing “Hey Jude” by the Beatles. At another point, they form a line and then they all sit on each other’s laps. At which point, the last person says “I don’t like being in the back.” So, one of the dancers brings him a chair to the audience’s delight. This piece has many funny moments in it and is a perfect piece to perform in an informal setting.

Cadence Run

5/9/17 3:16:31 PM — Chicago, IL Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Dance Evolve 2017 Cadence by Julia Rhodes © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Berceuse

This a beautiful ballet dance to a classical music song titled “Berceuse”, as performed by Budapest Strings. It’s graceful and joyous. It’s short, sweet, and very well done.

Berceuse Run

Clan(device)

This piece feels like a music video. The lighting effects create a very sleek and futuristic look.  It features very strong acrobatic movements along to very modern music including the songs above and below. The picture at the very beginning of this post captures the excitement of this performance.

Get tickets now for danc(e)volve through Sunday!

Quinn Delaney

Phenomenal! The Joffrey Ballet Presents Global Visionaries at Auditorium Theatre (May 4, 2017)

The Miraculous Mandarin by Yuri Possokhov

The entire Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra is on stage playing behind the dancers. In this piece, the woman seduces men and then steals from them. The beginning of the relationship is very flirtatious and fun but then it becomes very dark and mysterious when she brings in her friends to rob him. It’s an emotionally intense piece executed expertly by the Joffrey.

1_The Miraculous Mandarin_Victoria Jaiani_Photo by Cheryl Mann

JOY by Alexander Ekman

Playlist

A narrator’s voice says “What if the entire piece is just this? 30 minutes of random joyful dancing? Maybe that would work in gallery, where you could choose how long to watch. But here, you are stuck!” The audience cracks up. Comedy and dancing don’t often go together, but it’s become one of Ekman’s specialties.

Later on, a single dancer moves to the front of the stage and stares straight out. He sees something that makes him happy and he starts to dance. The entire company (about 30 dancers) emerges from off stage and stands behind him. Slowly, they all see what he sees and they begin joyfully dancing. Then, he stops and walks to the side to look at something else, where he eventually starts dancing again. The simplicity of this while at that same time displaying great joy is fantastic. Everyone has a smile on their face.

At one point, the dancers let go of a balloon and it floats to the high ceiling. The audience gasps at this loss, thus proving how this performance has brought upon a childlike joy by the dancing and the fun balloon.

Mammatus by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

The score for this piece is “Weather One” by composer Michael Gordon. It has a very modern, sleek, and mysterious feel which matches the modern version of ballet dancing. The set features a large bright white structure of light tubes which contrasts perfectly with the all-black outfits worn by the dancers. A very thick fog covers the stage which gives the appearance of dancing on a cloud. The title, Mammatus, is derived from the Latin word for a specific cloud formation which is a perfect fit. This piece is a great finale to a phenomenal night of dancing.

Get tickets now for the final weekend of Global Visionaries!

Quinn Delaney