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  Allotment Annie at Strawdog Theatre

Allotment Annie

Strawdog Theatre
1802 W. Berenice Chicago

It's 1944, the most violent year of the 20th Century, and Allotment Annie follows a dashing Air Force pilot (Carl Lindberg) and a timid and beautiful bartender (Kate Black-Spence) who start a war profiteering scheme that quickly turns to sex, betrayal and murder. While the rest of the globe is fighting Nazism and Fascism, this unlikely couple shakes up a small American town with their exploits and a strong dose of swing dancing and music of the 1940s.

Presented by InFusion Theatre Company

Thru - Feb 3, 2013

Thursdays: 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 8:00pm
Sundays: 3:00pm

Price: $10-$25

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-528-9696

Nearby Restaurants

  Allotment Annie Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...The show opens with an Air Force pilot strolling into a Poughkeepsie military canteen, meeting bartender Fran, and quickly and openly plotting to defraud the military with her. Meanwhile the government entrusts the secret of a massive U.S. war atrocity to a teenage telegram messenger. Mason's characters confess all sorts of untoward truths without discernible motivation. Bridgette Harney's production for InFusion Theatre Company is admirably grounded-but all those loose lips sink the play."
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Justin Hayford

Windy City Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...There's no denying the production's atmospheric appeal, with its nostalgic images of ration-book frocks, swing dancing (choreography by Jenna Stworzyjanek) and big-band music-the latter dispensed by Mallory Nees, playing a variety of radio announcers broadcasting from the world outside David Ferguson's claustrophobic New England tavern. In defiance of this richly-detailed background, though, Harney has instructed her actors to strip their delivery of subtextual revelation, making for ambivalence perhaps meant to provoke controversy, but more likely to inspire only dissatisfied bewilderment."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Centerstage - Recommended

"...Mason’s play is seductive, its lighthearted dialogue quickly giving way to dark psychological intrigue. It is a worthy, revisionist addition to our dominant legend."

Rory Leahy

Time Out Chicago - Not Recommended

"...Though the plot and characters are incoherent, Mason’s point is clear: War turns those it touches into monsters. But even that argument is muddled by director Bridgette Harney, who seems to think she’s staging a piece of ’40s nostalgia, throwing in a big-band soundtrack and pausing the action several times so the cast can clomp through the jitterbug. This only makes the script seem more baffling and schizophrenic."
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Zachary Thompson

Stage and Cinema - Somewhat Recommended

"... Unfortunately, it’s a very unenlightening tragedy, given the playwright’s casual or missing explanations for Fran’s evil, Joe’s credulity, and Virginia’s enabling. There’s no particular point to this play, let alone payoff. The world of war, Mason implies, makes life cheap – but the opposite could easily be argued: So much death only makes life seem rare and precious. (Much emphasis here is put on a training disaster in preparation for the invasion of Normandy, where almost 900 soldiers died, the losses not announced until they could be disguised as casualties of D-Day. It’s interesting – and irrelevant.)"
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Not Recommended

"... I’m not sure why playwright Mark Mason wanted to write several plays in one play?This story is an unfocused convoluted mess. Add the poor acting and mumbling lack of articulation by Kate Black-Spence and Amy Rapp together with the wildly fast-talking announcer Mallory Nees and Allotment Annie becomes a tedious affair. Mason needs to rethink and refocus his play as he asks himself what the play is really about. Is it about a murderous psychopath or two scheming gals bent on getting government cash from their GI husbands? And, if you want to infuse your show with swing tunes and dance, then cast singers and dancers and produce a light musical. As presented, Allotment Annie tries and fails to be a worthy story – it begs the question: what is it about? Maybe if the production values and acting were better, the work would be tolerable but as now presented, it isn’t worth seeing."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Theater Beat - Somewhat Recommended

"...Playwright Mark Mason pens a rare tale of the shenanigans that went on during the chaotic war years. His interesting and disenchanting angle goes against the typical American patriotic stories. It’s fascinating. In particular, the climatic end to Act 1 is a riveting shocker. Under Bridgette Harney’s direction, the ladies own the stage. Kate Black-Spence is outstanding in a complex role. She starts out as a sweet, timid bartender and morphs into a totally different persona (I’m being intentionally vague so as not to spoil the experience). A vivacious Amy Rapp (Virginia) frolics with an unsettling playfulness and neediness. The relationship between Black-Spence and Rapp is this weird but endearing co-dependency. "

Katy Walsh

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