Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Response: The Illusion

Chicago Critic:
Promethean Theatre Ensemble, under Russell Berns direction, has assembled a first-rate cast of non-Equity actors all of which render fine work... The Illusion is a most entertaining and well acted show that you’ll enjoy. It is a joyous fantasy on the nature of love. The poetic language, the sarcasm and humor together with the excellent ensemble acting makes for a pleasant theatrical experience. Nick Lake, Devon Candura and Tom Weber were particularly effective.

Steady Style Chicago:
The Illusion, directed by Russell Berns for Promethean Theatre is quite a surprise from start to finish... The Illusion is filled with fun, fury, and insight. Russell Berns captivates the audience with characters that cannot fully trust each other. An explosive performance by Ed Rutherford playing the parts of both Amanuesis, a partly mute servant and then Geronte, a man who can no longer hold his tongue is simultaneously frightening and delightful...

Center Stage Chicago:
The Promethean Theatre Ensemble members all make a very good showing, but they often surpass the material. Despite Kushner’s track record as a Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, and the play’s many humorous moments, it just never really grabs you. This is partly because it can’t decide whether it wants to be a comedy or a drama, and the story’s linear plot is too often broken up and interlaced with other subplots. To their credit, the actors deliver Kushner’s poetic dialogue with crisp clear diction. Their ability to handle the play’s theatricality are definite pluses, and Jeanne Jones’ wildly inventive costumes and Roger Wykes’ simple, stylized, multi-locale set also contribute much to this production. They just can’t make up for a story that confuses far more than it clarifies.

Urban Coaster:
Director Russell Berns and his cast deliver excellent performances as well. Nick Lake, who plays the na├»ve and lustful son, is simply captivating in his role. From the way he delivers his lines to his body language, one can’t help but be transfixed by his character, and we’re easily pulled into his world once he takes the stage.
Devon Candura, who plays the son’s love interest, easily shifts from one emotion to the next. Anne Korajczyk, who for the most part plays the wise-cracking maid, acts as an emotional anchor for both the characters and the audience.
Steve Gensler plays quite the creep in his role as a jealous and jilted lover. Blake Williams plays the egotistical French nobleman Matamore in a flat-out hilarious performance.

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