Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“The Blonde,The Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead”

Writers’ Theatre ,nestled in the North Shore community, continues to bring unusual works to its stages. Their “studio” theater, the very intimate 60 something seat venue located in the back of the Vernon Bookstore is one of great intimacy- a place where the audience finds itself close to the action and  the stage. What a perfect location for Robert Hewett’s “The Blonde,the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead” a one woman “tour de force” that highlights the incredible talent of Deborah Staples, who takes on all the roles in this wonderful story of how one event can alter the lives of many.

This stunning performance, directed by Joseph Handreddy, on a marvelous set by Linda Buchanan featuring several wall panels that open to reveal dressing areas which allow us to see Ms Staples transform form character to character as we learn how the event in question affects the lives of a circle of people who are slightly connected and become even more so. Rhonda’s story is the very first- she is in a police station as we learn about Rhonda’s husband and his leaving her and their son. As we learn of this and the affair he has had, we meet her best friend and neighbor who goes with her to confront the Blonde who may be the reason for her husband leaving. In between, we meet a doctor, a female, Alec, who as it turns out is the physician for the employees of the company where her husband is employed. The doctor, a Lesbian, during the course of this segment is advised that her lover, the mother of  their two children has been rushed to the hospital with a brain injury. The plot starts to thicken at this point as Lynette, talks of her relationship with Rhonda and the event at the mall that led Christine ( the doctors girlfriend) to be injured and Rhonda to be at the police station.

We go on to meet, Christine’s 4 1/2 year old boy, Matthew as he tells his neighbor Mrs Carlisle and us about the special party that will take place for his mother, her funeral as the first act ends. When the story resumes, we meet Rhonda’s husband and learn of his relationship with Tanya, the Blonde ( or should I say, other blonde) and then with Lynette and we meet Tanya, the Russian who not only caused Rhonda to be at the mall, and Mrs Carlisle tells her story about what has happened to her neighbors and at the end, we revisit Rhonda who tells us how these years in prison have allowed her to see that each day is a “gift” and that with every valuable day she has learned how to deal with the losses in her life and the value of redemption.

From the very start and during each character change, we get to see a truly talented actress “do her thing”. We watch each character come to life and listen to each story of how each character’s life was affected and changed during this period of time. This is truly a DO NOT MISS performance where every piece makes for perfection. The lighting by Keith Parham sets the mood and tone as does the musical interludes ( sound by Barry Funderberg) and the costumes by Martha Hally and props by Nick Heggestad are by far the icing on the cake. Each piece has to be in the exact spot needed to make the transformation from character to character swift and graceful- and it is! This is a show filled with warmth, wit and compassion as the stories begin to intertwine and needless to say, an extraordinary performance by Deborah Staples, who spends over two hours on stage playing all these roles to absolute perfection!                                                                                                                                                                                                                

“Blonde” will continue at Writers’ Theatre through July 29th ( unless they can extend, which I hope they do) with performances as follows:

Tuesdays 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. with matinees on 6/27 and 7/25 at 2 p.m. and NO PERFORMANCE on July 4th, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.,Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 and 6 p.m. ( no 6 p.m. on 71 or 7/29)

Tickets range from $45-$65 and can be purchased at the box office located at 376 Park Avenue in Glencoe ( the main theater), by phone at 847-242-6000 or online at www.writerstheatre.org

The theater itself is located at 664 Vernon Avenue ( in he back of the Vernon Book store) come early and browse- you will find some wonderful titles for all age groups and there is plenty of free parking on the street


  learn more by visiting the “Blonde” page at www.theatreinchicago.com


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