What is Truth? Interrobang Theatre Presents Foxfinder at Athenaeum Theatre (October 2, 2017)

William Bloor is a new Foxfinder. He has been training for this task since he was five years old. His job is to determine if farms are not meeting their quotas due to foxes. However, these aren’t your ordinary foxes. They have supernatural powers such as the ability to change the weather and affect your dreams. On the contrary, there is a movement that says foxes are almost extinct in England. They claim the government is just using Foxfinders to take over farms. What is the truth? Do these monstrous foxes even exist?

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Bloor shares many qualities with Chris Cooper’s character in American Beauty. They are both forced by society to live in a certain way that is against their wishes. This restrain leads both of them to shocking climaxes.

The set design by Eric Luchen is fantastic. It looks like they cut a house from rural England in half and planted it on the stage. Oftentimes, it is raining and you can see actual water falling on the characters as they enter or exit the house. The sound design and original music by Jesse Case is also excellent. It sets up the eerie atmosphere and provides great transitions between scenes.

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The play does drag on a bit in parts. Perhaps this is because the image of foxes isn’t very frightening. Maybe if it was a wolf or a monster, the suspense would be heightened. Also, the play is a bit long, an hour and 40 minutes, to not have an intermission. But these faults are minor and overall it is a great production.

Get your tickets for Foxfinder now through November 5th!

Quinn Delaney

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Intimate and Emotional! Fun Home at Victory Gardens Theatre (September 28, 2017)

Fun Home isn’t your typical sing and dance musical. Instead, it’s more intimate, emotional, and styled like a Steppenwolf play. Specifically, it shares a lot in common with Mary Page Marlowe. Both shows have multiple actresses playing the same character at different times in her life. Both jump around in time, both forwards and backwards. And finally, both are extremely well written and executed.

In Fun Home, which is short for funeral home, the children perform an imaginary advertisement for the funeral home called Come to the Fun Home. The choreography is so fun and hilarious. It shows off the talents perfectly of the child actors in the show. Everyone had a smile on their face after this funky jam.

Another amazing song is Changing My Major which Allison sings about being excited and joyful after having sex with Joan. It’s such a fun song about teenage love and self-discovery. It showcases the singing and comedic talent of the actress playing college aged Allison.

For the best song of the show, the youngest Alison notices a butch delivery woman and feels an inexplicable kinship with her (Ring of Keys). The song sends shivers through the audience as she begins to discover herself in this woman. Also, the song sounds beautiful too as it just bursts with joy.

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There are only two small changes this play could use. Firstly, Joe Lino, who plays many different characters, should have more distinct costumes so the audience isn’t confused about who he is playing. Secondly, the fact that Allison’s dad dies, which is revealed very early in the play, should not be stated. It would make for such a big climax to only discover this at the end. It would also make Rob Lindley’s performance, which is excellently nuanced, even more powerful.

Compared to the Broadway version that toured Chicago last year, this production is far more intimate and funny, which is perfect for this play. Also, the band is visible at the back of the stage, which makes the music more powerful.

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Catch Fun Home, the winner of five 2015 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, now through November 12th!

Quinn Delaney

A Spectacle! Orphée et Eurydice featuring The Joffrey Ballet at The Lyric Opera (September 27, 2017)

Orphée is deeply in love with his wife, Eurydice. After a fight, she storms off and is killed in a traffic accident.  Orphée is inconsolable. He goes on a journey to the Underworld and Elysium to rescue her from death. There is just one rule: He must not look at her until they are back on Earth.

 

The production is quite a spectacle. Large 20ft tall set pieces glide onto the stage. The cast is enormous with 60 members of the Lyric Opera Chorus and 43 dancers of the The Joffrey Ballet. Also, 47 members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra plus 6 stageband musicians provide the music. The costumes are fantastic, especially the ones for Eurydice and the stonemen.

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9/15/17 2:59:29 PM Lyric Opera of Chicago OrphÈe et Eurydice Piano run through © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

The dancing is exceptional. Everything from the joy of rehearsal, to the terror of Hades, to the bliss of Elysium is expressed fantastically through ballet. The singing is equally impressive by the title characters. Dmitry Korchak is powerful and emtional as Orphée, and Andriana Chuchman is beautiful and graceful as Eurydice.

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9/15/17 5:24:38 PM Lyric Opera of Chicago Orphée et Eurydice Piano run through © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Get tickets now for Orphée et Eurydice through October 15th. It’s a two for one deal, opera and ballet!

Quinn Delaney

Thrilling! WildClaw Theatre Presents Night In Alachua County at The Den Theatre

Lily is 16 and living with her mother in middle of nowhere Florida. Her father died long ago and her sister, Violet, left right after she was born. Violet calls sometimes, but Lily doesn’t know if her sister really exists, or if she is just a voice in her phone. At night, she is haunted by a ghost with no eyes.  She describes feeling a chill in the room before encountering the ghost. It would be very cool if they could recreate this effect by turning on the AC in theatre before any ghost scenes.

The set design is fantastic. It looks like they pulled a home straight out of the swamp and placed it in the Den Theatre. The attention to detail is commendable. Also, the lighting design and sound design work together expertly to create a dark and eerie scene. They take horror seriously at WildClaw, which is important because if it isn’t done well, it comes off as silly. When done right, as in this case, it’s thrilling.

Get tickets now for Night In Alachua County through October 7th!

Quinn Delaney

Also see the review of WildClaw’s The Woman in Black here.

Resilient! Parade of Lights opening for Wild Cub at Schubas (September 25, 2017)

Parade of Lights had their trailer broken into and some equipment was stolen. So, they spent the day running around the city buying replacement gear. They were working on setting up the new equipment right until 10 minutes before showtime. Just enough time for shots!  Despite the bad news, the band was still in a great mood. “We still love Chicago”, said the lead singer, Ryan Daly. “I want to move here!” Many bands just pander to the crowd, but he is clearly sincere.  Also, their music has the ability to cheer anyone up. It’s an uplifting sound that is perfect for dancing and forgetting all troubles. Their new single, “Victorious”, fits right in to their catalogue.

Their energy is fantastic for the entire set. “Everybody get golden, and put your hands up to the sky!” sings everyone at Schubas to their hit, “Golden”. It’s a dance infused rock party that’s similar to the style of Walk the Moon. They definitely put on a live show great enough to allow them to make it just as big as Walk the Moon has. So, catch them now in small venues while it’s still possible!

Quinn Delaney

Indie Folk! Frances Luke Accord at Old Town School of Music (September 24, 2017)

Nicholas Gunty and Brian Powers have perfected their harmony. On “Over Your Roof”, their voices and their instruments blend so smoothly. The “Accord” in their name refers to the harmonies between Nicholas (“Luke” is his middle name) and Brian (“Frances” is the name of the street he lived on when the band formed). This harmony also comes across in their stage banter. Here are a few samples:

“Only one of us lives in Chicago now. It’s probably best for the band as we already spend so much time together.”

“Both of our Moms are here” says Powers as intro to “Stones I’ve Thrown”. The song starts, “Momma loves me, this I know.”

“It’s a band goal to own a boat!” Brian says before they play “The Great Zero”, an unreleased song.

“We are excited to start working on new music after this tour,” says Brian. “That’s Brian’s way of saying we didn’t write this one.” The crowd laughs and applauds. “You’re applauding that we didn’t write this one,” responds Brian.

It’s the fun stage banter like these that makes a Frances Luke Accord performance so great. It’s a conversation with the audience and it creates a very intimate atmosphere. To close out the night, they play “Sounds of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkle perfectly. It’s a beautiful way to end the night.

Quinn Delaney

Fantastic Return! Company of Thieves Featuring Genevieve Schatz, Marc Walloch, Sidewalk Chalk, and Sam Trump at House of Blues Chicago (September 22, 2017)

In 2013, Company of Thieves went on hiatus. During that time, Genevieve Schatz released a solo album, “Show Your Colors”. Also, Marc Walloch released a record titled “Through The Seasons” and played bass for AWOLNATION. It was never clear if the band would get back together. Thus, the crowd was very excited to see them tonight. It’s like seeing an old friend who just returned after going away to college for four years.

The band is greeted with a huge applause as they take the stage. Genevieve is already bubbly and looking happy. “Thank you all so much for coming” she says to a packed House of Blues. They start with “Old Letters”. That signature bass line hits and the excitement of their reunion fills the crowd. Later on, as they play “Won’t Go Quietly”, the crowd smiles and sings along. “I will not go quiet! I will not stay silent!” It’s such a beautiful song, it gives me goosebumps to hear it played live. Genevieve really showcases her vocals on this song. It’s a perfect song to close their set.

For the first song of their encore, they bring out their original bandmates to play drums and bass and they perform “Oscar Wilde”. “We are all our own devil, and we make this world our hell!” This one is a rocker and Marc shows his great guitar talent here. At last, it comes time for the final song. They bring out Sam Trump and other members of Sidewalk Chalk’s horn section to play the glorious “Tallulah”. This is a fantastically fun song and it gets everyone dancing and singing. “Ooh, girl. Be my girl! You knew there was death in Tallulah!” The band may now be based in LA, but their Chicago roots remain strong. “We are back!” says Genevieve. “See you soon!”

Quinn

See our review of Genevieve solo here.