Highly Recommended ***** When it comes to “storefront theater” productions, I am always stunned by what Redtwist does in their very small space on Bryn Mawr, in the Edgewater neighborhood. Their current production “Good People”, written by David Lindsay-Abaire, which had an amazing run at Steppenwolf Theater, has been squeezed into this very intimate space by the skillful director Matt Hawkins with a perfect touch. For those of you familiar with the space, for this one, they have put all the action in a stage area that allows for around 30 audience members to watch the action. The action by the way is as “good as it gets”. The story is about Margie (with a hard “G” sound) a sort of South Boston sound. Margie (an incredible performance by Jacqueline Grandt, who constantly captivates me with her work) is a down on her luck single parent, with a daughter (who we never see) who has some major problems. While Margie is a survivor, despite all of the obstacles life presents her, she struggles through, one day at a time.
Having just lost her job, and learning that her old “flame” Michael (deftly handled by Mark Pracht), now a Doctor is back in the area, she decides to contact him and see if he can assist her in finding a new job. She gets into his office despite his objections and after bringing up a lot of past history convinces him to invite her to his home for a party, where she might meet some of his upper crust friends who might just be her opportunity to find a decent job. When she receives a call while playing Bingo with her friends, telling her the party is off, she decides that this was a ruse and she was going to go anyway. SPOILER ALERT! I do not want to let the cat out of the bag as to what transpires at this “party” or let’s say, gathering, but here we meet Mike’s wife Kate (played to perfection by Kiki Layne). The scene in this act between the past and the present life of Mike, is terse and very eye opening, dealing with spirits, ideals and in many ways, destruction of something that may or may not have been what it appears to be.
What makes this play so strong is the characters that come alive and the smooth direction by Hawkins in this small stage area. I have to say that the strength of this ensemble adds to the completeness of the production. Aaron Kirby as Stevie, KC Karen Hill as Margie’s best friend Jean, and the always reliable Kathleen Ruhl as landlady Dottie are all important parts of the story being told. Eric Luchen’s set design is also an important piece of the puzzle, making the Doctor’s home appear to be something special on probably the smallest of budgets, as only a storefront theater might have. Kathryn A. Lesko’s lighting, Jan Ellen Graves’ props, Karli Blalock’s sound and Allison M. Smith’s costumes bring it all together and despite the size of the space and not having the type of budget a larger venue might have, this is a production that you should place on your “Must See” list. 2 hours and 10 minutes (one intermission) of magic on stage.
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 3 p.m. ( no performance on July 4th)
Tickets range from $30-$35 (seniors and students, save $5) and can be reserved by calling 773-728-7529 or online at ww.redtwwist.org– open seating but there are no bad seats in a venue this small. Parking in the area is mostly metered with some side street parking. The Red Line Bryn Mawr station is one block away, and might be the best way to get to the Redtwist. Valet parking is also available at some of the dining spots on Bryn Mawr. Credit Card payment will guarantee your seats. To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Good People”. If you saw this back in 2012 at Steppenwolf, don’t let that keep you from seeing it again. This production is worth the trip to Edgewater!