Dunsinane

The Royal Shakespeare Company is on stage at Chicago Shakes in the long awaited epic sequel of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Dunsinane takes over and tells the story if Lady Macbeth was still alive and Siward was settling the affairs of Scotland in the name of the English Monarch.
I haven’t seen a production on the Chicago Shakespeare stage that hasn’t been fully produced by them. I was a little apprehensive that it would not live up to their high standards. There was no need to worry. This production lives up to and exceeds some aspects of Chicago Shake’s productions.
Most impressive is Tom Gill playing the Boy Soldier. He has a great naivety that produces great wisdom. Other standouts includes the queens maids whose vocals were spot on along with live three piece band.
Overall I would recommend this show to anyone who likes Macbeth and enjoys what if scenarios.
[button link=”http://plays.patrickstinson.com/category/aminus/”]Grade: A-[/button]

Pericles

The set is beautiful wood grain with the sense of flowing sand. There is a huge entrance upstage center along with large jungle looking platforms extreme stage right and stage left. As always before a Chicago Shakes show I am excited and nervous about being able to comprehend the language but I know with this quality of show it will be very well done.
For a Friday night I am surprised that it is not sold out.
The show started out slowly with costumes that seemed more cartoonish than Shakespearean. One character reminded me of Jafar from Aladdin. But I learned that it was supposed to make me uncomfortable because it ended up being a character that I shouldn’t like along with his kingdom.
The story is based around the king of Tyre’s travels. He is shown to be good man that helps neighboring nations. He is ship wrecked and proven to be a gentleman in another kings court. He wins the hand of the princess and they are blessed with a daughter during their sea travel back to Tyre. The new queen dies or so we are meant to think and her body is sealed in casket and sent overboard. The king decides the baby will not last the journey names her Marina and leaves her with another kingdom. The queen of the new kingdom becomes jealous of her and has her henchman kill her. He tries and is unable when pirates kidnap her and sell her to a whore house. Pericles is told she is dead. He goes into great despair. Marina refuses to give away her virtue and when men pay to lay with her they end up repenting and turning a new leaf including the governor of this land. Marina is sent to help those who lives are downtrodden when she is led to her father. They reveal to each who they are. Pericles grants the governor his daughter’s hand and they go to the temple of Diana to be wed. There they find Thalia Pericles’ thought to be dead wife. The end.
Two and a half hours of great storytelling. Many actors played multiple roles and all were great. Above all the music in the show was well written and had a very nautical sound. If I would change anything it would be the projections. At times they were distracting. A lot of them were for the sake of doing it and didn’t add to the action, but many of them were very useful.

[button link=”http://plays.patrickstinson.com/category/aminus/”]Grade: A-[/button]

Motown

I love me some Motown music.  I have been and forever will be a Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 fan and this show helped me keep that mindset.  This is the story of Berry Gordy and how he started Motown records and how he tried to keep it going despite losing relationships with friends and lovers.  Gordy is a producer for the show and I thought going in that it would make him look like a hero and be more of the standard jukebox show that just features the numbers from the Motown catalogue.  To my pleasant surprise it and he wasn’t.   Yes it did have all the favorite Motown hits but it, but it wasn’t wrapped in fluff.  It was really touching at times and it made me feel good watching it and being a part of the Motown story.

[button link=”http://plays.patrickstinson.com/category/aminus/”]Grade: A-[/button]