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  Play Details

Clutter: The True Story of the Collyer Brothers Who Never Threw Anything Out

The Greenhouse Theater Center
2257 N Lincoln Avenue Chicago

Clutter is based on the compelling true story of the wealthy, reclusive Collyer brothers who became hoarders in their Fifth Avenue mansion in 1920s Harlem. After years of compulsive collecting, the brothers have become notorious shut-ins in their aristocratic New York neighborhood. Langley Collyer is missing and Homer Collyer is found dead amongst floor-to-ceiling piles of newspapers, books, and junk. The police investigating the case, two brothers with a strained relationship mirroring that of the Collyers, are simultaneously making discoveries about themselves. Narrated by the brothers and the police investigating the bizarre case, this darkly fascinating tale is a poignant and profound exploration of human behavior.

Presented by MadKap Productions

Thru - Mar 11, 2012

Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 7:30pm
Saturdays: 7:30pm
Sundays: 2:30pm



Price: $15-$40

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 773.404.7336

Running Time: 2hrs, 10mins

www.greenhousetheater.org


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  Clutter: The True Story of the Collyer Brothers Who Never Threw Anything Out Reviews

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Produced commercially with non-Equity actors by Wendy Kaplan's MadKap Productions and directed by Wayne Mell of the Citadel Theatre in Lake Forest, “Clutter” is mostly a straight-up account of the Collyer tale, told so as to emphasize the mystery of their deaths (their house at 128th Street and Fifth Avenue was, famously, filled with booby traps to repel the curious and the unwelcome). We learn of the brothers (exuberantly played by Andrew J. Pond and Edward Kuffert) through the police detective (the solid Joe Mack) who is obliged to investigate their situation after someone calling himself Charles Smith telephones the precinct to report a dead body inside 2078 Fifth Avenue."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Reader - Not Recommended

"...To compare and contrast, he gives us another set of brothers—police officers who learn to take care of each other while investigating the Collyers' deaths. Wayne Mell's staging for Madkap Productions struggles to find a tone, and Andrei Onegin's set looks more like a messy attic than a menacing accumulation of detritus."
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Zac Thompson


NewCity Chicago - Not Recommended

"... Playwright Mark Saltzman (“Sesame Street”) may have numerous Emmys under his belt, but this story (sold as a comedic mystery) often feels more pedagogical and over-explanatory than action-packed. This could be due to director Wayne Mell’s indecision on whether to fully embrace the more slapstick aspects of the script or the heavier themes of brotherhood; not only are the titular Collyers brothers with issues, so are the NYPD cops assigned to the case when one Collyer turns up dead and another goes missing."
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Zach Freeman


Windy City Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...The actors soldier on through the contradictions of their characters with nimble alacrity (Joe Mack and Michael J. Bullaro providing welcome sanity as the bewildered flatfeet), while Bill Morey's quick-change costumes, Andrei Onegin's scrim-based scenic design and Mary O'Dowd's museum-grade set dressing supply an abundance of visual interest. So who is responsible for turning this fundamentally tragic tale into a camp-cartoon spoof of a Victorian penny dreadful? Now there's a mystery worth pursuing!"
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Centerstage - Somewhat Recommended

"...Wayne Mell’s production contains some great moments of physical comedy, and I can imagine what fun Andrei Onegin and Mary O’Dowd had putting the set and props together. Andrew J. Pond and Edward Kuffert are wonderful as Langley and Homer, respectively. Their performances are at once over-the-top and nuanced, which only makes us want to spend more time with them."

Lisa Findley


Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"... Aside from minor arguments between both pairs of brothers, dramatic stakes are wholly absent. And despite some appealing moments from Andrew J. Pond and Michael J. Bullaro as the younger siblings, Wayne Mell’s production does the script no favors with its herky-jerky pacing and puzzling design."
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Kris Vire


Chicago Theater Beat - Somewhat Recommended

"...Certainly, the focal point of this story is the jumbled mess on stage. Scenic Designer Andrei Onegin and Props Designer Mary O’Dowd have created a hoarder’s paradise. Wow! It’s like the Brown Elephant Thrift Store squished into a studio apartment! The initial visual is gasp-worthy. Overall, Clutter entertains with visual filthy ick and sweet brotherly shtick! "

Katy Walsh


ChicagoCritic - Not Recommended

"...With several actors flubbing lines and the inconsistent tone, Clutter sure is a ‘cluttered’ affair. Too bad director Wayne Mell couldn’t make up his mind on a consistent style. Clutter is a interesting idea for a play that fails due to poor direction and uneven acting. The script was superficial and cliche ridden. I’d skip this one."
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Tom Williams


Chicago Stage Standard - Somewhat Recommended

"...I imagine the number one way audience members are describing this let-down is by saying, “’Clutter’ wasn’t entirely bad, problem is you have to dig through 40 tons of ‘clutter’ to find the diamonds”. And yes, the pun was intended. MadKap Productions has a worn-out gem in their hands, and with a little polishing, it might one day glow. I just sincerely hope they begin with the strongly cast ensemble."

Tyler Tidmore


Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"... In this two hour production, skillfully directed by Wayne Mell, Saltzman begins the story in 1947 and through flashbacks leads on the journey of these two folklore characters. The officer in charge of the investigation of the death of Homer is Sgt. Reilly Dolan ( deftly handled by Joe Mack) who is working with his brother Kevin ( Michael J. Bullaro) who has just returned from being a prisoner of War and has some very personal problems. In fact, the relationship between these brothers is not as solid as that of the Collyers. As we flash back and forth from investigation to who killed Homer and the lives of the brothers, many characters come into the story, all played by two sensational character actors, Stephen M. Genovese and Tim Walsh. These gentlemen are so strong in bringing these small characters to life, that they were given ovations for some of their brilliant scenes – well deserved I might add!"
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Alan Bresloff


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