Chicago Theatre Review
‘Bloodshot’ at Greenhouse a solo tour de force
Bloodshot – Greenhouse Theatre
Part noir murder mystery, part addiction confession, part multi-character vaudeville act, “Bloodshot,” the latest play in Greenhouse Theater Center’s wonderful “Solo Celebration!”, is a wildly inventive two hours of theater.
Set in early 1950s London, the play concerns the trials, tribulations, and adventures of Derek Eveleigh, a hard-drinking Londoner who transitions from a photography job with the city’s police force to that of an artist and freelance photographer. During a professional dry spell (and in danger of being evicted from his shabby one-room apartment), Eveleigh receives a mysterious commission from a wealthy admirer. The job sounds simple enough – follow a beautiful woman around London and discreetly photograph her – but before long, Eveleigh is thrust into a world of rape, conspiracy, and murder, one he feels increasingly driven to resolve.
One-man shows thrust enough pressure on their creative team, but actor Simon Slater, writer Douglas Post, and director Patrick Sandford handle the various challenges of the format with considerable aplomb. On the writing side, Post’s text is a marvelous study in balance, avoiding any of the speeches and self-aggrandizing that sometimes cripples solo performances. On direction, Sandford moves the action along at a steady, engaging clip, ensuring that the audience’s attention never wavers. And at the center of it all is Slater, who stampedes through the material like a force of nature. Whether explaining the roots of his alcoholism, narrating his photographic pursuits, or taking on any one of the three other roles in the play – respectively, an Irish comedian/folk singer, an American jazz musician, and a Russian magician – he is never short of spellbinding, and he had the audience in the palm of his hand throughout the evening.
Reviewed by Peter Thomas Ricci
Presented through August 14 by by the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.
Tickets are available by calling the box office at 773-404-7336 or by going to http://www.greenhousetheater.org/.
Additional information about this and other fine area productions can be found by visiting www.theatreinchicago.com