3 items from 2015
I. The Rattigan Version
After his first dramatic success, The Winslow Boy, Terence Rattigan conceived a double bill of one-act plays in 1946. Producers dismissed the project, even Rattigan’s collaborator Hugh “Binkie” Beaumont. Actor John Gielgud agreed. “They’ve seen me in so much first rate stuff,” Gielgud asked Rattigan; “Do you really think they will like me in anything second rate?” Rattigan insisted he wasn’t “content writing a play to please an audience today, but to write a play that will be remembered in fifty years’ time.”
Ultimately, Rattigan paired a brooding character study, The Browning Version, with a light farce, Harlequinade. Entitled Playbill, the show was finally produced by Stephen Mitchell in September 1948, starring Eric Portman, and became a runaway hit. While Harlequinade faded into a footnote, the first half proved an instant classic. Harold Hobson wrote that “Mr. Portman’s playing and Mr. Rattigan’s writing »
- Christopher Saunders
The Egot is great. There’s no denying that. It’s the American entertainment grand slam, and the rarity with which it’s earned (12 people) only adds to its elite status. Tracy Jordan was right. But there’s another award mash-up that’s so elite only one person has ever done it. That award combo is the Onk, and that person is George Bernard Shaw. Shaw is the only person to win an Oscar and a Nobel Prize, and he was offered a Knighthood for good measure. Shaw earned the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925 for — as is the case with many recipients — his overall body of work up to that point, which included a healthy amount of vibrant novels and plays that explored the human capacity for hope within a twisting satirical viewpoint of social norms. The award came on the heels of his “Saint Joan,” a moving play based on the life of Joan of »
- Scott Beggs
Chicago – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).
Play Rating: 3.5/5.0
The script of the play is a bit slight and histrionic, but the performances rescue those tendencies, especially the whirling dervish in the center of the action. The character of Georgie is an indecisive-yet-strong character, and is portrayed with exceptional presence and depth by the rising Chicago theater star Jillian Weingart. Flitting from man-to-man, and consequence-to-consequence, Weingart as Georgie becomes the glue which holds the flimsy scenario together.
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
3 items from 2015
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