Saturday October 22nd 2016

“The Heir Apparent”

HEIR_PlaysAndEvents_310x233_4Highly Recommended **** While Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier is known for its tributes to the great works of William Shakespeare, and their ability to transform the classics into a more modern day theatrical experience, they are also a cultural adventure place where the works of others can be transformed to something even better than the original. Does that sound a bit confusing? Well it should! This famed classical theater company is now presenting, on its main stage, a retooling of a classic David Ives farce, “The Heir Apparent”, staged to perfection by Tony Award winning John Rando.

First, let me explain the farce, to those of you unfamiliar with this art form- poetry in motion is what the actors must do to create the laughs and the perfect timing that it takes to “pull this off”. Split second timing to be exact. If they are not as directed, there could be very little in the way of laughter, and far more people dozing off. Tonight’s opening of “The Heir Apparent” had the audience in hysterics for over two hours. Thank the Lord, for the interval known as Intermission, where we could settle down, rest our sides from the laughter and regain our composure for the second act. I must tell you, it only takes a few minutes before we are right back into it- wow! Are we into it!heir

Ives is known for his plays, his screen writing and novels. He also enjoys adapting classics for the enjoyment of today’s audiences. Some of you might recall the previous “A Flea In Her Ear” and “The School For Lies” that also appeared onstage at CST. “The Heir” is an adaptation of the famous comic masterpiece “Le Legataire” by Jean-Francois Regnard. A swift comical look at what happens in the life of a young aristocrat, Eraste (Nate Burger appears to be having the time of his life in this role), who appears to have it all: good looks, the prospects of the perfect fiancée and a very rich uncle who it seems is searching for the one person in his life that will gain his fortune when he passes on. The one major problem in this scenario- the uncle refuses to die! In fact, it is his desire to wed the fiancée of his nephew. Isabelle (beautifully played by Emily Peterson).


Uncle Geronte (an incredible performance by Paxton Whitehead) is surrounded by a strange mixture of servants and family as well as friends. His maid Lisette ( Jessie Fisher) and her beau Crispin (an outstanding performance by Cliff Saunders, who it appears truly understands the genre of “farce”) are also seeking a bit of gold at the end of their rainbow. Along with Mr. Burger, these three do most of the slapstick “shtick” to the NTH degree. Linda Kimbrough is exquisite as Madame Argante, the lady who desires Uncle Geronte. The other character in the story is the lawyer Scruple (deftly handled by Patrick Kerr) who has an unusual role that will take you by surprise in a wonderful scene about Geronte’s drawing up his will.heir 3

Yes, the entire premise of the story is just that. One man, with great wealth, wanting to leave his worth to that special person, “The Heir Apparent”, whoever that may be. Of course, everyone on the stage, feels that they should be that party and what we have is lots of misunderstandings. When the old man announces that he has decided to wed his nephews fiancée and disinherit the nephew, Eraste and his friends take the task at hand to make sure that they get what they have coming to them. This is where the show gets very funny- inane, yes! Silly, Yes!, but hysterical , for sure!

No matter how your day was, if you enter the CST to see this production, you will leave with the largest of smiles on your face (and also in your heart). You will have the time of your life. This company understands the “farce”, and knows how to play the audience- well! The set (Kevin Depinet) is handsome and practical. They even dig up the stage searching for hidden treasures. The costumes (David Woolard) are very period. The lighting (Christine Binder) and sound (Richard Woodbury) as well as the wigs and make-up (Melissa Veal) are the finishing touches on a perfect production. Just a little less than two hours in total time. Two hours of pure heaven.

To get your piece of this heaven, understand that it will only remain on Navy Pier through January 17th with performances as follows:


Wed, Dec 9: 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Thu, Dec 10: 7:30pm
Fri, Dec 11: 7:30pm
Sat, Dec 12: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sun, Dec 13: 2:00pm
Tue, Dec 15: 7:30pm
Wed, Dec 16: 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Thu, Dec 17: 7:30pm
Fri, Dec 18: 7:30pm
Sat, Dec 19: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sun, Dec 20: 2:00pm
Tue, Dec 22: 7:30pm
Wed, Dec 23: 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Sat, Dec 26: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sun, Dec 27: 2:00pm & 6:30pm
Tue, Dec 29: 7:30pm
Wed, Dec 30: 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Thu, Dec 31: 7:30pm
Sat, Jan 2: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sun, Jan 3: 2:00pm & 6:30pm
Tue, Jan 5: 7:30pm
Wed, Jan 6: 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Thu, Jan 7: 7:30pm
Fri, Jan 8: 7:30pm
Sat, Jan 9: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sun, Jan 10: 2:00pm
Tue, Jan 12: 7:30pm
Wed, Jan 13: 7:30pm
Thu, Jan 14: 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Fri, Jan 15: 7:30pm
Sat, Jan 16: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sun, Jan 17: 2:00pm


Price: $48-$88

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 312-595-5600

To see what others are saying, visit, go to Review Round-Up and click at “The Heir Apparent”

Discount parking at Navy Pier- bring your ticket to the theater for savings



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