Tuesday November 21st 2017

“Significant Other”

I will begin my review of the Midwest Premiere of “Significant Other”, the latest play penned by Joshua Harmon (who gave us the sensational comedy “Bad Jews”) now on stage at Theater Wit, by telling you the main character, Jordan (played to perfection, as always, by Alex Weisman) is the reason to see it. The script leaves some holes in it and Weisman along with the direction by Keira Fromm breathe some life into what might have been a lesser production. This is a co-production by Wit and About Face Theatre and tells a story that has probably existed for decades (or longer) about what takes place in the lives of college friends after they leave school and journey into what we call life!

Jordan is gay and his three “best” friends from college, Laura (Amanda Drinkall), Vanessa (Tiffany Oglesby) and Kiki ( Cassidy Slaughter-Mason) are his life. They are nearing their 30’s and during the course of this play/story, each of the ladies finds their betrothed. He attends all their “showers”, “bachelorette parties” and is even willing to be a bridesmaid (should they want him to be) in order to not break the tie that they have had all these years. But, where is his true love? Where is his “Mr. Right”?

For two-hours-twenhty minutes (with a 10 minute intermission) we watch Jordan suffer thru hoping to find him, and when it appears he may be working in the same company, we witness his “first-date” experience. I do not want to take away any of the elements of surprise, but this is probably someone out there’s story- someone who is reading this review right now, or even one of the people who will be in the audience the night you attend to watch this production. Is it possible that the character of Jordan is based on Harmon himself? As always, Weisman nails the character and in a powerful scene between him and Laura (Ms Drinkall) where they explode with their inner feelings prior to her wedding (she is the last of the trio to wed), you may even find a tear in your eye.

During Jordan’s scenes with his grandmother, played by Chicago favorite Ann Whitney, we almost feel that she has accepted that he is okay with who he is, but she still wants him to find happiness. Additionally, in this production,there are two  actors  , each of whom plays several roles-  Ninos Baba and Benjamin Sprunger. I did have a problem with Sprunger playing the man who Jordan fell in love with, and his best friend Laura’s fiancé/husband. Yes, he added glasses, but  due to the intimacy of Theater Wit #3 ,it was very obvious that it was the same actor and I know that some of the audience were confused about who he was. Smaller theater companies cannot afford another salary, I guess. By the way, Springer himself was solid in both characters.

The set (Jeffrey D. Kmiec) was very flexible in allowing scene changes to be made by the actors on exits and entrances. Noel Huntzinger’s costumes were very timely and again, allowed for some easy changes for the cast, who in some cases exited as one character and entered from a different part of the theater as someone else. Bravo on the costumes and the actors who made the changes. The original music by Christopher Kriz was very fitting and his sound design was perfect for the space. We did have a patron who felt that the speech about turning cell phones off was probably for the others in the audience (as her name was not mentioned specifically) so the twirp sounds broke some of the moods that the actors created. John Kelly’s lighting was perfect for creating just the right moods and Pauline Olwsky did a splendid job of assembling the props.

This is a bittersweet comedy, and in our modern world probably will have more meaning than it might have had  back in the 80’s or even the 90’s. Our world has opened closet doors today and men like Jordan can hope that there is a “Mr. Right” out there and that they can have the same life as his friends are having. A wedding, a home and yes, even children.The characters are realistic, but I think the script has a flaw here and there that will be worked out in the future. The cell phone is a character as well.You do want to see this production while Alex is playing Jordan. The part is perfect for him and vice-versa.

You can see “significant Other” thru December 9th at Theater Wit (stage 3) located at 1229 West Belmont with performances as follows:

Wednesdays  7:30 p.m.

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  7:30 p.m.

Sundays  3 p.m.

NO PERFORMANCE on November 23rd

ADDED November 25th at 3 p.m. and November 26th at 7 p.m.

Touch Tour/Audio Description Performance  11/30  6:30 touch-tour  7:30 performance

Tickets range from $20-$38 (open seating) and can be purchased at the box office, at www.theaterwit.org, http://www.aboutfacetheatre.comor by phone at 773-975-8150

Street Parking, some metered, some not is available as well as valet parking.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Significant Other”

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