I must start off my review of the newest offering from one of our city’s newest theaters, the Windy City Playhouse, by saying that while I found the show to be hysterical and very entertaining, there were also audience members who did not crack a smile. Not because the writing or the delivery is not comical, but the subject matter, evidently was not their cup of tea I feel that here is where I must explain myself. The play in question is “Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight” written by Peter Ackerman. The story is a comedy, that often becomes farcical. Directed by one of our city’s finest directors, William Brown, in this new venue that defines “black box theater” to perfection, it is indeed a very entertaining piece of work. For the record, it might have been better off being a 90 minute, no intermission play instead of two hours with a 20 minute intermission. A little trim here and there would make for a better transition from the 2nd bedroom to the 3rd.
Ah, yes! This is truly a bedroom comedy. Our play begins in a wild scene of love-making with Nancy (the adorable and very sexy Emily Tate) and her boyfriend, Ben (deftly handled by Peter Meadows). During this wild and passionate sequence, Nancy yells out just as she is about to hit that special moment. What she yells out becomes the start of an argument that has our lovers saying things that are probably not true or even be pertinent to either of them. Nancy leaves in a huff, going to see her best friend as she thinks that Ben made a statement about possibly being “gay”. While this seems a small thing at the time, as the evening progresses, it becomes more important to her.
We move to the center of the theater now, where another bed sits. Here we meet Gene (a comical character created by Shane Kenyon) who is spending his evening with the lady in his life, Grace (Patrese McClain) who as it turns out is a patient of Gene’s brother Mark, a sex-therapist, who as it turns out is in fact “Gay”. Gene is a Mafia Hit-Man that finds himself wanting to be with Grace for more than just the sexual activities, but she only wants him as her “sex-toy”. When Nancy shows up in despair and upset, Grace, her old college room-mate tries to help her by having her call her therapist Mark (played to perfection by Chris Sheard) who has with him in his bed, an elder gentleman, Mr. Abramson (the very funny, even adorable fits, Robert Spencer). Of course, he is Jewish, the same faith as Ben. I tell you this because the thing that is yelled out by Nancy can be taken as a racial slur or at the least, an anti-semitic statement.
The technical aspects at this theater have been very well planned as well as what we see on the stage ( or in this case, stages). Thanks to Kevin Depinet (scenic design), Rachel Anne Healy (costumes), Jesse Klug (lighting), Kevin O’Donnell (sound) and Jamie Karas (props). As I said earlier, this play could easily be a 90 minute , no intermission production, but I guess the intermission gives the audience a chance to drink another exotic one and think about where the action is headed as we get ready to hit the third bedroom.
I must tell you that this show is filled with many cliché’s about religious beliefs, Mafia, Gay jokes and of course Senior sexual jokes. This may shock some of you! This might bother some of you! But needless to say, if you can go into the theater with an open mind and be there just to be entertained, you will have a ball. The show moves well and the acting is first class. Brown and his staff have taken each element of the story line and allowed for each audience member to feel as if they had broken the fourth wall (three different times) making us become the proverbial “fly on the wall”. When the bring all the characters together on a three- way phone conversation, on speaker, we become drawn further into the mind of the play’s creator. Ackerman has “sucked us into his story”, and we start to pick sides with the characters that he has created.We also learn a valuable lesson about what we say. Do you say what you mean? Or do you mean what you say? In moments of passion and or stress, we often say what comes to our mind instead of what is IN our minds. That may be the lesson for all of us in this story. If you do not like stories that involve gay humor, sexual situations, Mafia situations or any disparaging remarks about religion, stay away from this one. But, if you love a great diversion from your days of hard work and mental toil, and just want to explode with laughter, catch this while you can ( and bring someone you truly love).
Fridays 8 p.m.
Saturdays 8 p.m.
Sundays 7 p.m.
on September 13th at 3 p.m.
Tickets range from $20-$45 and can be ordered by calling 773-891-8985 or online at www.windycityplayhouse.com
The theater is located at 3014 West Irving Park in Chicago. It is probably the most comfortable venue in the city with its black leather swivel chairs and table areas for your beverages or snacks (available at the bar in the luxurious lobby). There is street parking as well as valet parking.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at ” Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight”.