Profiles Theatre has been astounding Chicago audiences since 1988 with their truth and honesty in production values. Their new production, “Kid Sister” written by Will Kern ( best known for “Hellcab”) and is a World Premiere for Profiles. Many of you are keenly aware of this theater company due to the award winning production of “Tracy Letts’ “Killer Joe” last year. The difficulty with “Kid Sister” is that it almost seems as if this could be a sequel of sorts. They are a dysfunctional family and for two hours ( no intermission ), there is a lot of screaming and some heavy fighting ( R & D Choreography sure knows its violence) Directed by Joe Jahraus, utilizing two fo the leads from the previously mentioned “Killer Joe”, “Kid Sister” is about Demi Williams, a 19 year old who has visions and dreams of being the next “American Idol”. She has a little daughter and as it turns out is being stalked by the father of her child. If she doesn’t get rid of him, her life will be ruined and she will never leave Tampa Florida and her date with “fame”. Allison Torem has some strong vocal chords when it comes to screaming, but when she is speaking in a natural tone, is hard to hear. Profiles is a very intimate storefront , so you should be able to hear from any seat in the house.
Kendall, the father of her daughter ( Marc Singletary) wants to have his woman and child with him, But Demi asks her brother, Cassius,( it seems that Darrell W. Cox is always in these roles) a recent convict, to scare him off. He agrees but with one stipulation; he wants the child. Cassius, is seeking to change his life, and feels that the child will set him on the straight and narrow. Demi’s current boyfriend, a sort of nerd who she has no feelings for, Babe ( Eric Burgher) wants to see Demi be the star she wants to be, but is concerned about her temper and the way she ignores the baby’s needs. Greta, the final character in the play is a Law Student/intern the very sexy Emily Vajda)that Cassius uses to find out what he must do to gain custody of the child and many untold secrets become a part of the plot. There are some novel love stories in this script.
In normal cases, I really enjoy the work of this theater company, but I found this one to be loud, vulgar and saw no real point to what Kern was trying to say. There is death, bloodshed and in the end, when the curtain falls, thank God, Babe and the baby are still in one piece. We never really know what happens with Greta, but by that time, who really cares. Demi has a dream as do many young girls ( and guys for that part)- her problem is that although she is willing to do anything to see that dream become a reality, she is not pretty and certainly has no talent. The set by Roger Wykes is very near to what they use in many of their shows , a kitchen and a couch, card table and chairs. Costumes are fitting for the type of people we are connecting with ( Myron Elliot) and the highlight for me was the incidental music (Jeffrey Levin) and the lighting (Mattison Voell).
I think it is time for their board of directors to seek some variety in their year, and if you have to have a demented character so Cox has a part, find a play where people are at leas close to normal.. “Kid Sister” will be seen differently by each individual, depending on their youth and family, so you might want to see for yourself. Te run will continue through December 19th with performances aas follows:
Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. ( I cannot believe two fo these shows in one day) and Sunday at 7 p.m.
Tickets range from $30-$35 ( $5 off for student and seniors) and can be purchased by calling 773-549-1815 or online at www.profilestheatre.org
The theater is located at 4147 N. Broadway ( two stops nort of Irving Park on route 36) there is parking ($10-$12 available at 4100 N. Clarendon , about a block East)