Chicago Theatre Review
Chalk Up Another One for Promethean Theatre Ensemble
By Lazlo Collins
The Promethean Theater Ensemble’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle “is a visual and auditory delight! The baby is never thrown out with the bathwater in this inventive telling of this well-trod Bertolt Brecht classic.
With lovely original music by Matt Kahler moving the tale along; this classic tale of a government’s fall, a servant’s journey, and love reunited is high energy fun. Director Ed Rutherford’s clever staging and new vision keep this story relevant.
The play is as relevant today as when it was written in 1944. Keeping all the socially relevant aspects, but keep the action moving was a great move for director and company. This is the story of an abandoned child of the wealthy rulers who is raised by a servant on the run. Ultimately, through time and troubles, the now toddler is brought to the court to determine who’s
child it REALLY is (or should be). Is it the one who bore the child, or the one who brought up the child? The results will “tug” at your heartstrings.
A strong beginning and pleasant thread through the play was the likeable Cary Davenport as the Lead Singer. He has a lovely voice and gets the ball rolling and keeps things moving.
The talented cast of young energy and commitment was impressive. I loved the multi-player and multi orchestral aspect of the show. I was impressed with the acting and the musicianship that was displayed throughout the show.
Sara Gorsky as “Grusha” was an exceptional stand out. With a just a few moments to breathe throughout the show, Ms. Gorsky moves through her songs and story with ease and admirable commitment.
Also, Teddy Lance as “Azdak” was another high energy stand out. His delivery of the judge and other characters was unique. His tongue twisting prose kept me engaged during his turn on stage. His confidence was palpable.
“Corporal”, Alex Mauney, was great to watch and fear.
All the designers of the show should be very happy with all their efforts. The puppetry, props, and set design worked well. The wall of goods was especially effective. My kudos to the actors on opening night who improvised a hilarious bit of replacing a coffee pot that had fallen off the wall; well done.
Although the show moved swiftly and with high energy, the second act feels a little slow. I hope this cast keeps up the pace throughout the run of this sweet inventive offering from Promethean.
“The Caucasian Chalk Circle” runs through 9 February 2012 at City Lit Theater Space. For tickets go to www.brownpapertickets.com or call 1-800-838-3006.
For more information on this and other shows please visit theatre in Chicago at www.theatreinchicago.com