Highly Recommended **** The Redtwist Theatre, that little “black box” theater on Bryn Mawr, has truly become one of my favorite “storefront” theaters in Chicago. In this intimate space, they create story-telling as it should be- deep, involved and presented with strength. They are currently presenting the Chicago premiere of “The Seedbed” written by Bryan Delaney and directed by Chicago favorite, Steve Scott, who over the years has learned how to utilize a small space to sheer perfection. A “black box” can be configured in several ways, and for this production, the seating is limited to what appears to be 28 spectators ( five of the seats are on the stage, blending in with the set (Elyse Balogh has done a spectacular job with this space). That is intimate!
The story is about a young girl, who has reached adulthood. Her mother, Hannah (marvelous performance by Jacqueline Grandt) and step-father, Thomas (deftly handled by Mark Pracht) are celebrating 17 years of wedded bliss, and Maggie, Hannah’s daughter (Abby Dillion), is returning home after being away for 6 months. She is returning with her fiancé, Mick ( a sparkling performance by Adam Bitterman) an older gentleman from Holland. When Thomas and Hannah meet Mick, small changes in their personalities become very evident. As we watch each of the characters, we learn that there are secrets of what had taken place causing Maggie to leave in the first place. In fact, there are lots of little secrets, or should I say, different interpretations of the events that took place on Maggie’s coming of age!
Mick believes that truth is the most important ingredient in a relationship and while he loves Maggie with every part of his heart, mind and soul, he cannot stay with her if the truth that he seeks cannot be told. During the two-hours-fifteen minutes of action (there is a 15 minute intermission), we are treated to some high drama between these characters. It is obvious that Hannah loves her daughter, wanting to protect her from any wrong-doing. It is obvious that Thomas, who has raised Maggie as his own, feels the need to protect her from making the mistake of marrying a man not her type or age, just to escape the secrets of this family. It is also obvious that Mick is a good person, a man who we later find out is better than most, only to see his love thwarted.
There are many ups and downs in this terse drama ( with a few comic touches) as we watch these four characters deal with what might have taken place on that fateful day. Each family member has a different and unique explanation of what took place, or at least what they think took place. Each family member also wants to protect the other members of the family, and Mick, the “outsider” is in love with a young girl that leaves far to many questions than answers. Redtwist says in its “mission statement”, their mission is “to do white hot drama, in a tiny black box, with a little red twist”. This production exceeded my expectations. There is one scene in the first act, where the cast is having a wonderful meal that I must prepare you for. If you are sitting near the dining room table, you could be in for a bit of a surprise. This is open seating, so if you can, avoid that section.
The technical aspects of the production are splendidly done as well; lighting (Emma Deane), costumes (Cassandra Bowers), sound, Karli Blalock and Props (Josh Hurley). The incidental music was very fitting and over all, this is a production that will be food for thought. “The Seedbed” will continue at Redtwist Theatre thru July 17th with performances as follows:
Thursdays 7:30 p.m.
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 7:30 p.m.
Sundays 3 p.m.
Tickets are $30-$35 (seniors and students , save $5) and can be reserved by calling 773-728-7529 or online at
The theater is located at 1044 West Bryn Mawr (just east of the Bryn Mawr “Red-Line” station). Parking on the street is metered, with some two hours and some three hours. The meters are FREE on Sundays. Street parking is open, but very limited. Valet parking can be found at Francesca’s , even if you do not dine there.
To see what others are saying, visit http://www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “The Seedbed”.