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  A Tale of Two Cities at Lifeline Theatre

A Tale of Two Cities

Lifeline Theatre
6912 North Glenwood Chicago

As the Reign of Terror sweeps through Paris, destroying both the high and low, two Londoners are confronted with impossible choices. Will former aristocrat Charles Darnay abandon his family and enter the revolutionary storm to protect an innocent man? And can depressive barrister Sydney Carton find the strength to make the ultimate sacrifice for the unrequited love of his life? Darnay and Carton join a host of unforgettable characters in this passionate tale of soldiers and servants, revolutionaries and the nobility, set against a backdrop of violent social upheaval. An epic story of resurrection and redemption in a world premiere adaptation based on the 1859 novel by Charles Dickens.

Thru - Apr 13, 2014

Price: $20-$40

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-761-4477

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  A Tale of Two Cities Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...A novel dense with story and narrative meanderings will always end up streamlined for the stage. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Adaptations can expose the guts of a thing, but you must cut wisely lest all that remains is little more than a skeleton."
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Nina Metz

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Charles Dickens's 1859 novel, set during the Reign of Terror that followed the 1789 French Revolution, comes to the stage in a taut, suspenseful adaptation that captures the romantic idealism, dark humor, and social outrage that drive this ripping good yarn. Playwright Christopher M. Walsh and director Elise Kauzlaric hone in on the core of Dickens's sprawling story: the triangular relationship between a young Frenchwoman (daughter of a former political prisoner) and the two men who love her (a dissolute English lawyer and a French aristocrat trying to atone for his family's misdeeds)."
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Albert Williams

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Fitting big stories into small spaces is Lifeline Theatre's specialty, its stage's restrictive floor dimensions and high ceilings easily accommodating 10 actors portraying citizens on two continents ( with the assistance of Elise Kauzlaric's dialect instruction and Andrew Hansen's audio score that replicates the descent of the guillotine blade with chilling accuracy ). John Henry Roberts deftly keeps us apprised of his diverse personae with never a trace of disruptive jocularity, his unswerving focus matched by an ensemble capable of riveting our attention for the swift-paced two-and-a-half hours necessary before the villains are dispatched, the innocent rescued and the noble rewarded for their sacrifice."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Some of the Dickensian plot convolutions, together with multiple underdeveloped characters, feel less worthwhile on stage than they might on the page. Still, the actors are uniformly strong: Darnay and Carton (whose rousing, elegiac final speech sends goosebumps) play their doubles with alacrity, and others (including Maggie Scrantom as Lucie Manette and Sean Sinitski as Doctor Manette) bring even the less detailed characters to resonant life. Though inconsistently rendered, in the moments where the power of Dickens’s text meets the power of theatrical craft, this Tale is something to behold."
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Suzanne Scanlon

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...It’s a good trick, reducing an epic – and I might add really famous – novel like Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” to two hours’ worth of narrative and dialogue, and yet preserving the psychological and dramatic dimensions that make the story compelling. Credit Lifeline Theatre with doing just that."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Happily, Elise Kauzlaric’s staging is as driven as the plot. As the at times rather matter-of-fact Lucie Manette, Maggie Scrantom rises to the occasion as devotion confers courage. Playing the persecuted and brain-broken Dr. Manette, “called to life” after 18 years in the Bastille, Sean Sinitski delivers the pathos of a promising physician imprisoned for knowing too much about the hateful Evremondes. Carolyn Klein breathes hell and damnation as Madame Defarge, her well-deserved demise as satisfactory as it ever felt on the page. Deserving merit finds its natural home in Nicholas Bailey’s stalwart Charles Darnay, who bears a necessary resemblance to the semi-suicidal Sydney–an interpretation that is not always the case in stage and film adaptations of this work. In the complicated role of a survivor who discovers a greater glory (“a far, far better thing” indeed), Josh Hambrock restores Sydney’s self-respect, with nothing becoming his life so much as how he leaves it."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...Despite a slow pace early on, A Tale of Two Cities eventually grabs us and keeps us engaged until the strong second act becomes a powerful one. using the thick accents, some actors speak too fast thus rendering their speeches hard to understand. Once the players slow down a tad, this production will improve . There is enough craft from the game cast of tn to make Lifeline Theatre's production of the Dicken's classic worth seeing. Josh Hainsworth and Nicholas Bailey were particularly effective with John Henry Roberts' lively narration the glue that holds the show together."
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Tom Williams

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...A TALE OF TWO CITIES is a literary treat. Lifeline has become my favorite Sunday afternoon lazy read.  The return or first visit to a Lifeline classic tale is a comprehensive way to experience literature. I wonder what it would cost to commission them to produce “Atlas Shrugged.”"

Katy Walsh

  A Tale of Two Cities Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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