Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Weekend Reviews

It's been a busy few days; here are my thoughts with reviews based on a @@@@@ system.

A play by David Mamet
Produced by the Inspirare Theatre at the Glen Ellyn Civic Center
This 1992 2-person Mamet play, inspired by the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill sexual harassment case, is certainly worthwhile material. Performed in an old classroom, which was appropriate per the script, this was the inaugural performance by a new theatre group called Inspirare. For just $7 for Thursday night performances, you can't go wrong, though the performance by the actress playing the female student was weaker than the one of the male professor. Yet given the story, that imbalance was almost fine.

Ash & The Bravery
Two bands in concert, 4.8.05 at Cabaret Metro
Ash @@@@
The Bravery @@
I went to this concert strictly for Ash, an hard-driving yet melodic Irish rock band that I've liked for some time. While certainly not brilliant, I have found Ash consistently enjoyable and their hour-long set at the Metro didn't disappoint. While seemingly receiving top billing, they played before a new band called The Bravery, which blends a bunch of influences (The Smiths, Duran Duran & other 80's bands) into a contemporary Dance Rock style (a la The Killers, Franz Ferdinand) that's pleasantly derivative, but not distinctive.

Sin City
Novel & brilliant moviemaking yet short of a wonderful movie.

The Diary of Anne Frank
Play - Chicago Jewish Theatre
Very well acted version of the Frank family's period of hiding from the Nazi's in WWII Amsterdam. The story is too real to be artfully dramatic, but strong performances made it quite worthwhile.

Randy Travis
Country/Gospel Performance
Willow Creek Community Church
Yes, I went to a church, though it seemed more like a performing arts venue, with a brand new 7,000 seat auditorium. Fortunately, for this Jew, it was 95% singing and just 5% preaching, though Travis' selection of songs were mostly spiritual in nature. I've never followed his music before, but found him to be a likable performer with a good voice & style. Probably would've enjoyed a straightforward country performance better, but this was a good introduction.

Take Me Out
A Play by Richard Greenberg
Steppenwolf Theatre
I left my apartment just before Tiger Woods' miracle chip shot on 16, and eventual Master's win, so that just added to my disappointment with a show I was looking forward to seeing. About, or perhaps more correctly, centered around a baseball star's announcement that he is gay, this first Chicago production of a recent Tony Award winning play didn't quite strike out, but it was certainly no home run either. It seemed meandering rather than pointed, and even at 2 hours, felt long.

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