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  God of Carnage at Goodman Theatre

God of Carnage

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Street Chicago

Don’t miss the Tony Award-winning Broadway sensation God of Carnage, by Yasmina Reza (Art). When Alan and Annette’s son hits Michael and Veronica’s son with a stick, the two couples meet to discuss the problem over appetizers. What starts as a civilized get-together quickly devolves into a scrappy, laugh-out-loud evening that The New Yorker calls “ninety minutes of sustained mayhem.” In unanimous critical praise for its Broadway debut, God of Carnage has been hailed “first class” (The New York Times), “the best play in town!” (New York Post) and “scabrously funny” (USA Today) and earned the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and three Tony Awards, including Best Play.

Thru - Apr 17, 2011

Price: $25-$88

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 312-443-3800

Running Time: 1hr 20mins; no intermission

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  God of Carnage Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...after the recent heavy diet of Robert Falls spectacles, shocking new plays and hefty Regina Taylor triptychs, I suspect many in the loyal Goodman audience will find “God of Carnage,” which is directed by Rick Snyder and features a solid Chicago cast made up of David Pasquesi, Beth Lacke, Keith Kupferer and Mary Beth Fisher, something of a relief. It is, by any standards, a very funny explication of a very simple situation: One 11-year-old has wacked another kid in the mouth with a stick, and both sets of parents meet in a Brooklyn living room to alternatively apologize, assess blame, work out consequences and throw their multifarious neuroses in each other's faces."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Each of the four adults here is neatly obnoxious in a special way, and it is hard to care about any of them. Veronica is an art specialist who is writing about the chaos in Sudan’s Darfur region, while her husband is an earthy hardware wholesaler who might not have enough drive to satisfy her. Alan is a slick and smarmy corporate lawyer working for a big pharmaceutical company whose wonder drug has just been exposed as seriously problematic (hence the escalating phone calls), while his younger second wife, who works in “wealth management,” is clearly unhappy on the homefront. (Reza’s idea of satire is to let the morally corrupt Alan casually drop the fact that he will be traveling to The Hague soon, and not as one of the accused.)"
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Hedy Weiss

Daily Herald - Recommended

"... the laughs come fast and often over the course of Snyder's breakneck, 75-minute show as already fragile spousal alliances fracture and reform, leaving husbands squaring off against wives and women squaring off against men until all are left standing soiled (metaphorically speaking) and alone. All of which is reflected in the savvy staging by Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member Snyder. Snyder, who directed Steppenwolf's revival of Reza's “Art” in 2009, has proved himself a master at mining the intricacies of interpersonal relationships. The rolling waves of laughter opening night at the Goodman confirm a flair for physical comedy."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...God of Carnage is a classic comedy of manners: get some nice people together, give them just the slightest nudge, and watch them devolve. But Reza takes the convention to hilarious extremes, pushing a sharp probe into the soft gums of several sanctimonious lies--including the one about how parents love their kids. Reza is incredibly lucky to have Rick Snyder and his marvelous cast performing her play. Mary Beth Fisher's right arm alone is something to watch as it presents a sort of evening-length pedantic ballet. But David Pasquesi is positively archetypal as Alan, a big-time lawyer with just the perfect hint of nihilism in his smile."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Although Reza's two-couple roster may call to mind a Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? gone looney-tunes (similarities that may reflect simply the choices for this particular production), director Rick Snyder and his quartet of poker-faced troupers demonstrate their mettle at delivering sitcom-with-bite dialogue conveying the myopia of bourgeois citizens unsure of their place in a nebulous society. Moreover, if the small cast, single set, modern dress and 75-minute running time guarantee this play's popularity with theater companies of all budgets, you really can't blame Reza for repeating the formula that proved so commercially successful with Art, her groundbreaking 1994 play. It's not as if human behavior has changed much in the last 17 years."

Mary Shen Barnidge

Centerstage - Somewhat Recommended

"...The actors comfortably inhabit their characters, and the costume and set design strike just the right notes of bourgeois affectation. But the play’s relentless insistence on showing just how self-interested and degraded each character is would mean more if the characters were allowed to develop fully, rather than being reduced to ciphers in a shallow argument about the baseness of human nature, or if the misogyny didn't bleed through so noticeably."

Lisa Findley

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"... Reza’s pop-philosophy riffs (like those in Art) aren’t as profound as they want to be, and Christopher Hampton’s English translation (like his for Art) never stops sounding like a translation. Though Hampton amusingly sets the action in gentrified Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and transfers other references to a U.S. milieu, his dialogue sits a bit stiffly in the mouths of these skilled Chicago actors. But this cast is otherwise exquisite—I’d almost be willing to see this production four times, concentrating on a single performance just to be sure I caught every nuanced choice. The imposing, unadorned white walls of Takeshi Kata’s spare set feel like a missed opportunity, but I appreciated the humor in Birgit Rattenborg Wise’s costume designs, which, like Reza’s script, drown these bourgeois characters in shades of gray."
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Kris Vire

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...The typicality of these four Americans – loudmouths who get their way with volume and overwhelming force instead of sharp-tongued argument – makes this God of Carnage more of an oddity, and a farce, than it was ever meant to be. Yazmina Reza once said, “I would like to see [audiences] laugh at the right moments.” In this production, because of the decisions made by director and cast, they do not. Which is not to say that this is a bad play, or that this production is not entertaining – on the contrary. It is simply not all that God of Carnage could be."
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Will Fink

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...Sure, it’s happily short (70 minutes) but not sweet. In fact, while watching this ugly, slow-motion car crash, an audience is right to feel slightly soiled, as if we’re eavesdroppers or peeping Toms at our neighbor’s worst night ever. The connection, alas, to Edward Albee’s vicious domestic drama is superficial. There are no stakes in this squabble, no larger context to explain the internecine warfare."

Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...These four people do not live up to any of this. Alan spends very little time with his son as he is tied to his cell phone ( something that never would have happened in years past) and what takes place regarding this phone is something that will make a lot of you applaud. In fact, much of the carnage that takes place on the stage of the Goodman is actual and deserves to be applauded as in many cases, it is something that we wish we had the nerve to do ourselves. Let’s face it, what we see in this sterling and brilliant production is what we see in real life- in restaurants, at parties, at the park- it is happening everywhere- real people attempting to do more than they can, but don’t realize it."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theater Beat - Recommended

"...God of Carnage succeeds because it nails the savagery that we all understand. Reza posits that there may not be much of a difference between parks infested with roving gangs of kids or Brooklyn living rooms with cups of espresso and imported rum. She digs under the veneer of modern civilization, and even Veronica, modern civilization’s biggest champion, can’t prevent her passions from slipping out. To insult and question how a person raises their kids is asking for strong responses. But Reza, Snyder, and the cast commit fully to this explosive scenario, and we get to enjoy the fireworks."

Barry Eitel

  God of Carnage 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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