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Strawdog Theatre at Steppenwolf Theatre
Thru - Sep 30, 2017

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Strawdog Theatre at Steppenwolf Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...Kiely's simply staged production, which features a lively ensemble cast led by Abby Pierce and Ginneh Thomas, is a right-headed affair that walks a deft line between the gothic and truthful. It's stronger in the first act, which is richly acted and full of caustic laughs, than in the second, which sags and lacks veracity, only to recover in the last few minutes."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times- Recommended

"...Without giving away the many crucial elements of surprise here (in fact, so many spoiler alerts must be issued for this play that it is difficult to describe crucial aspects of the plot), it is fair to say that "Barbecue" trades in equal-opportunity stereotypes of race and class as it deals with everything from substance abuse, violence, family dynamics, money, Hollywood and the "embellished" aspects of contemporary memoirs, to the grand-scale desperation and vulgarity of contemporary American life. It also engages in a couple of "meta" tricks that deftly challenge the audience's perception of what is "real" and what is being "performed.""
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Director Damon Kiely and his double-five-member cast are more than up to it all. Celeste M. Cooper and Anita Deely supply the lowest of the low humor as the Maries-though only Cooper gets the splendid passage about how "middle easterners" put cancer in corn cans. Barbara Figgins and Deanna Reed-Foster both make canny, formidable Lillie Annes. Ginneh Thomas and Abby Pierce are cynically compatible pieces of work as the Zippity Booms."
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Tony Adler

Stage and Cinema- Not Recommended

"...No question, Damon Kiely's traffic-controlling 120-minute staging of this elaborate fabrication serves the slippery script very well. O'Hara's roller-coaster hardly slows down. Some theatergoers may forgive its lack of direction for its sheer velocity. But the real ambush here is not at Barbara but the audience: This "barbecue" leaves a very bad taste."
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine- Highly Recommended

"...This reviewer, and the rest of the audience, had a ball laughing at the superbly stylized portrayals given these characters in the first act as they exchange raw, profane, vicious and witty observations about each other. The barbs they throw are calculated to dig sharply, fueled with the unique knowledge that only a brother or sister, especially one with a similar problem, could have. The lines are delivered throughout with perfect comedic timing, whether muttered, yelled, screeched or hurled at each other."
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Debra Davy

NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...At the hollow center are the Barbaras (Abby Pierce and Ginneh Thomas)—mirror images that confront and distort a few of America’s troubles: race, class, the quest for fame, the mythology of self-help. “We ain’t no normal gatdamn family and we ain’t never been,” rails one of the James Ts. “But all of a sudden y’all read a book or see a TV show and y’all wanna gather up and act like we a normal gatdamn family.”"
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Irene Hsiao

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...This production is part of Steppenwolf’s Lookout Visiting Company program. It offers emerging artists and respected theatre companies the chance to produce in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Venue, as an alternative to their own storefront space. With a sparse, yet attractive set by Joanna Iwanicka, fine lighting and sound design by Jared Gooding and Heath Hays, and humorous costumes and wigs by Aly Renee Amidei, this production of Robert O’Hara’s latest play is well worth seeing. It’s no walk in the park, and there’s no barbecue being served, but this playwright proves once again he’s a dominant force in contemporary American Theatre."
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Colin Douglas

Third Coast Review- Recommended

"...Barbecue is not a treatise on meat-grilling. It’s a satire that roasts our attitudes about race, class and money. It’s a funny, biting family story with a twisty, turny plot that never stops surprising you."
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Nancy Bishop

Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...This is one of those stage delights with so many twists and turns that you don't have a chance of getting it, or at least your last laugh, 'til the very last scene. You won't find spoilers on this page!"
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Amy Munice

The Hawk Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...Luckily, there are stand-out performances that make the production, especially the first act, worth watching. Deanna Reed-Foster is fantastic as always, landing both her comedic and dramatic moments earnestly and artfully leading her peers. Barbara Figgins excels as Reed-Foster's white counterpart, also very funny, and Celeste M. Cooper is hysterical throughout. Ginneh Thomas is quite good as well, though she is forced to work with the most underwritten and stereotypical character in the play."
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Cory Davis