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  All Quiet On The Western Front Reviews
All Quiet On The Western Front
All Quiet On The Western Front

All Quiet On The Western Front
Red Tape Theatre at The Greenhouse Theater Center
Thru - Sep 14, 2019

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Red Tape Theatre at The Greenhouse Theater Center

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader- Recommended

"...All Quiet is at its best when the dialogue cuts out and Dan Poppen's sound and Stephen Sakowski's lighting merge with Urzendowski's movement to create indelibly vivid images. Nicholas James Schwartz's set is a thing of terrible beauty: before a backdrop of shadowy barbed wire, ruined pianos serve as trenches, glowing from the inside in a tangle of guts made of gleaming strings."
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Catey Sullivan



Windy City Times- Highly Recommended

"...Our empathy is escalated by Foss' directive to producing companies recommending noncompliance with literal visual/aural representation in casting. Thus, while Remarque's characters retain their designated identities, the Red Tape Theatre's ensemble reflects fluidity regarding ethnic, gender and other physical restrictions. Our narrator, the sensitive Private Baumer, for example, is played by cis-female Elena Victoria Feliz, while Brenda Scott Wlazlo's sadistic Corporal Himmelstoss barks orders in treble range and Joel Rodriguez's sly Private Westhus stalks the latter in a wheelchair."
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Mary Shen Barnidge



Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...We’re left bereft: The Red Tape company conveys with toxic conviction a burnt-out, shell-shocked band of brothers destroyed from within and without by the triumph of stupidity and an international land grab. These lost soldiers are no longer the hated Huns of wartime propaganda. They’re just a bunch of frightened boys perishing fifty years before their time. A hundred years later, the wounds have yet to heal."
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Lawrence Bommer



Around The Town Chicago- Recommended

"...What does Erich Maria Remarque's German anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front mean ninety years after its publication? It was adapted as a landmark Hollywood film in 1930 and is remembered as popular culture's definitive take on World War I. But it was also censored by the people it claimed to be speaking on behalf of, whose atrocities include murdering the novelist's sister. These are problems that adaptor/director Matt Foss has clearly grappled with in a production by Red Tape Theatre, produced in association with the hosting Greenhouse Theatre and the University of Toledo. The free theatre company treats the story as a memory play, with universalizing abstraction and modernization in place of Remarque's attempt to capture a particular culture's experience at a highly specific time."
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Jacob Davis



NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...Much of the dialogue and narration is taken verbatim from the book but something is lost in the dramatization. The show fails to convey the sensory and emotional reality of the war: its stench, filth, fear and tedium, as well as the camaraderie and intensity of life lived without expectation of tomorrow. These soldiers seem too clean, too soft, too well-fed, too polite. On the page, the simplest sentences in "All Quiet" have the force of a revelation. Delivered on stage by actors who are obviously and effortfully acting, they just seem like lines."
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Hugh Iglarsh



Third Coast Review- Highly Recommended

"...This staging of All Quiet on the Western Front is an example of the theatrical trend of using choreography and movement direction in dramas. Kudos to Leah Urzendowski for her choreography and movement direction, which adds a tough rock and roll dimension to the battle scenes. I was reminded of the visually compelling production of Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar that I saw in March at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn. Shana Cooper's direction was enhanced by similarly choreographic battle scenes."
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Nancy Bishop



Storefront Rebellion- Somewhat Recommended

"...But Foss overplays his hand in other ways, chiefly in an overreliance on a soundtrack of Vietnam-era anti-war songs (some of them in twee modern covers). We don’t need to hear “Gimme Shelter,” “Fortunate Son,” “For What It’s Worth” and a Hendrixesque version of “All Along the Watchtower” to appreciate the point that war is hell for every generation, and the cues are sometimes jarring in Dan Poppen’s sound design."
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Kris Vire



Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...Foss’s All Quiet on the Western Front is not a substitute for reading the novel, nor does he intend it to be, but it accurately captures the physical and emotional toll of this not-so-great war that Remarque defines so eloquently in his prose, and Red Tape’s production is impressive. It is an outstanding and memorable theatrical experience and the first great show of the fall season."
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Karen Topham



Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...This play, as the book, has enormous breadth—capturing the saga that is war. Very few playwrights try to take on as much as this script does. Even fewer plays succeed as much in telling their tale so powerfully."
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Amy Munice