Category Archives: Podcast


Mary-Arrchie Theatre offers short plays by Samuel Beckett: Existential Despair, Laugh Riot or Both?

Jonathan and Kelly review Mary-Arrchie’s production of Hellish Half-Light, half a dozen short plays by Samuel Beckett.  J. places Beckett in the context of French postwar absurdism, while K. actually talks about the plays.  Existential despair abounds.

But as long as life goes on, why not enliven it with an e-mail subscription to the Dueling Critics?  Look to your right and slightly down and you’ll see the “Subscribe” button; punch it and you’ll never miss a minute of our badinage, repartee and other French words apropos.


Jonathan and Kelly discuss lingerie and Lynn Nottage . . . and who wears it best!

The Dueling Critics get intimate with Intimate Apparel at Eclipse Theatre, and Jonathan reports news of Next Theatre and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).


Bruce Norris’s The Qualms at Steppenwolf: An Honest Examination of Relationships or just the Comedy of Cruelty?

The cast of The Qualms, written by ensemble member Bruce Norris and directed by Pam MacKinnon.  Casting includes ensemble member Kate Arrington with Owais Ahmed, Karen Aldridge, Diane Davis, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Keith Kupferer, David Pasquesi, Paul Oakley Stovall and Greg Stuhr.  (Photo by Michael Brosilow.)

Jonathan and Kelly strongly disagree about the new Steppenwolf show: J. approves, while K. has Qualms.  Also: K recommends Men Should Weep at Griffin: nothing like a 1940s Scottish melodrama to liven up your summer!



Another contender in the summer-theater sweepstakes; plus, return of the native

K. sez:

Door County, downstate and northwest-ish Indiana have a new competitor in the free-for-all which constitutes summer theater in the Chicago area: the Three Oaks Festival, which will set up shop in several locations around what real-estate salesmen call ‘Harbor Country’—southwest Michigan in the vicinity of New Buffalo.  Its season consists of transplants from the past year in Chicago, including Blair Thomas & Co.’s A Piano with Three Tales; Dennis Watkins’ The Magic Parlour; a staged reading of TimeLine Theatre’s The Normal Heart; David Lutken in Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie; Jackalope Theatre’s Exit Strategy; and Seanachaí Theatre Company’s Hughie.

Also presenting erstwhile Chicago shows you wish you hadn’t missed, and also in peripatetic mode, is the venerable Theater on the Lake, which continues to produce even as the Park District renovates its home space.  (That’s the meaning of the discouraging “See you next year!” sign in front of the Fullerton facility—presumably that’s the same next year during which the Cubs will win the pennant.)  On tap: Stage Left’s A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, July 9-13 and Theo Ubique’s A Cole Porter Songbook, July 23-27, both at Berger Park, 6205 North Sheridan Road; the Neo-Futurists’ Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, July 30-August 3 at the Washington Park Refectory, 5531 S. Russell Dr.; and Strawdog’s Great Expectations, August 6-10 back up at Berger Park.


Unmatched pair: Laughter on the 23rd Floor at Eclectic Full Contact Theatre, and Tyrant at Sideshow Theatre

Tyrant SideshowThings may be dysfunctional in the writers’ room, as conceived by Neil Simon in Laughter on the 23rd Floor (upper photo, courtesy of Eclectic Full Contact Theatre), but the world is downright dystopian in the world premiere of Tyrant, by Kathleen Akerly (lower photo, courtesy of Sideshow Theatre). The DC saw different shows this week and offer their opinions.



Chicago's permanent avant-garde troupe launches Rung, a new chamber opera by Matt Test.

Ring, rang, rung! The DC dish world premiere opera

Chicago’s permanent avant-garde theatre troupe celebrates 25 years with a  world premiere chamber opera by Matt Test.


Kelly and Jonathan wring each other’s neck over Rung, a world premiere opera at Curious Theatre Branch, and Kelly recommends Eat Your Heart Out at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble.


Our take on a Snake by the lake

The White Snake production photo courtesy of the Goodman Theatre.

How sharper than a serpent’s tongue are Kelly and Jonathan as they discuss The White Snake at Goodman Theatre, and Jonathan also recommends Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carre at Raven Theatre.

Summer Theater Preview: On the Road (and Among the Mosquitoes) with the Dueling Critics

J. and K. take to the airwaves with host Gary Zidek of The Arts Section on WDCB, 90.9 FM, for an overview of drama under the stars and in the heat throughout the Midwest.


Does How to Succeed, Succeed?

Fred Zimmerman, Tyler Ravelson and Elizabeth Telford in Porchlight’s production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Photo: Kelsey Jorissen.