Sunday, June 11, 2006

Good thieves, bad busses.

Yesterday I hit "The Good Thief" at Gift Theatre, which has one of those surprise locations. You schedule a review with some vague idea that it's off the blue line, then wake up in the morning and realize it's in Jefferson Park. You all know what that means for a Lincoln Square girl- Lawrence bus to the end of the line, aka the slowest and most depressing bus ride in Chicago.

But you know, it was appropriate, because the main/only character in "The Good Thief" probably has to take some hellish Irish equivalent of the 81 West anytime he has to go anywhere. Poor little ex-thug.

So, nicely done show. The weakest part for me was Conor McPherson's script. I can see why Gift Theatre picked it- it's a funny, sad, short monologue-play that Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton, who is recovering from several catastrophic strokes, can do sitting down. And he's fantastic in it. Really engaging, with that honest-bullshit Gaelic twinkle in his eye. So, it's an ideal showcase for a lovely, charismatic actor, but for me there wasn't much special about the crime-gone-haywire with a soupcon of femme fatales story.

But talk about spectator challenge! Two of the most gripping moments were when Thorton dragged himself on and off stage. Now, look, he's an actor who we're supposed to look at, but he's also an extremely young man who needs to use a walker to get around- who you are not supposed to look at. Tension much? This worked beautifully when Thorton entered, but when he exited after his bow, after the applause had died down, we all just sat there and watched him go, feeling pretty certain that the theatre was over, but not quite able to look away. Interesting.

Also, this marks the first off-loop non-musical I have seen featuring original music NOT written by Kevin O'Donnell. The man's total domination is slipping.


Blogger Unknown said...

I think you meant to say Conor McPherson, not Cormac McCarthy. Cormac. Conor. Easy to screw up.

12:27 PM  

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