Live theater in downtown Glenview! There are very few people in the city or even on the North Shore aware of a very special little venue on Glenview Road, just west of Waukegan Road, called Oil Lamp Theater. This quaint storefront theater is “something special”. When you enter through the door, you find yourself in what appears to be someone’s foyer with a long cascading bar along the western wall. Comfy seating abounds, and on the bar, freshly baked cookies, bowls of nuts and M & M’s, with plastic cups so you can divvy out what you need for the show. Oh, yes, that is what you are here for, a play.
The theater itself is next door and when you winter through a curtained doorway, you see a smallish, but well defined stage and seating for 48 (plus 6 stools at the rear). These are comfy chairs with more than enough leg room, making this a cozy place to see an intimate bit of story-telling. By the way, if you care to BYOB, they will pour for you and you can bring it into the theater.
Now, let’s talk about the play. Tonight I witnessed something new at Oil Lamp. They are now running, in addition to their regular production “Never The Bridesmaid”, an After Dark Series”, a 90 minute “Dark Comedy” by Jeffrey Hatcher, called “Murderers”. This is a combination of monologues, each about 30 minutes in length directed by Artistic Director Keith Gerth, using the set from their concurrent production “never the Bridesmaid”. All three actors come out to tell us that they are indeed “Murderers”. They then exit the stage with the exception of Gerald Halverson (Neil Austin Edwards, who seemed a bit uncomfortable to start, but improved as he told us his story).
Mr. Halverson’s tale is a confession of how his greed to inherit 5,000,000 and not have to pay any taxes is called “The Man Who Married His Mother-In-Law”. Dressed to the nines in black tie and tux, holding his cocktail, he tells us the tale of how he weds his live-in girlfriend’s mother, who is dying to get the money and escape the taxes. What takes place is surely something unique ( I will not divulge what happens, but there are some great turns and twists).
The second tale is called ” Margaret Faydle Comes To Town” and as our murderer, Lucy Stickler ( a tour de force for Julie Mitre) tells us, her skirt chasing husband,Robert, who has a new “fling” at the retirement village, that she has a way of getting even. What she plans is devious and yet adorable as everyone gets into the act.
The third and final story is “Match Wits” where we meet Minka Lupino ( an incredible performance by the very sultry Lauren Lichtenstein), a receptionist at the retirement village, who adores murder mystery novels, who takes it upon herself to rid the community of the predators who take advantage of the elderly. I found this story to be the most desirable of the three. Perhaps by the time the 3rd story came about, I was used to the monologues, or maybe it was due to Ms Lichtenstein using the stage more and showing much more emotion, but I found myself with a renewed interest as her story became unveiled.
If you enjoy murder mystery novels or crime stories , you will find this a nice experience. A suburban drive to the theater instead of the long highway drive into the city. Free parking, a solid show, a wonderful cookie and treats and a ticket is only $35. What more can one ask for?. You can order tickets by calling 847-834-0738 or online at www.oillamptheater.org The schedule is: Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. thru July 22nd.
The theater is located at 1723 West Glenview Road (just west of Waukegan Road) in Glenview. Guess what. The next show is the zany “Bleacher Bums”- August 6th thru Sept 13th
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “”Murderers”