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  Good Boys and True at Raven Theatre

Good Boys and True

Raven Theatre
6157 N. Clark St Chicago

Who is the young man in a salacious video of a teenage couple that makes the rounds at St. Joseph's Preparatory School for Boys? His face remains out of view, but he resembles the football team captain and the Ivy League-bound son of two doctors who repeatedly deny it's him. Good Boys and True invites discussions of social class and hints of sexual abuse and homosexuality, revealing increasingly ugly implications about how a culture of privilege reveals its dark side through sexuality.

Thru - May 3, 2014

Price: $22-$45

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-338-2177

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  Good Boys and True Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Aguirre-Sacasa (a writer-producer on "Glee") based the play loosely on his own high school years in the 1980s, but it is impossible to watch the story unfold and not think of all the ways social media in the 21st century has made these types of scandals even worse for the kids involved. It's unnerving - in all the right ways. Jeffrey D. Kmiec's canny set design places the audience on either side of an empty space that's flanked by metal lockers; the stage itself is little more than an elevated platform, but it might as well be a boxing ring."
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Nina Metz

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...And director Cody Estle packs his production with actors who perform with grace and power. But in the end, as in a lot of TV, Aguirre-Sacasa's twisty story proves more diverting than insightful. And not even the heartfelt speeches about privilege, compassion, and personal responsibility near the end of the second act can give the play more than the illusion of depth."
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Jack Helbig

Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...Good Boys and True is definitely not the first dramatization of the underbelly of prep-school culture, and certainly won't be the last. But despite the playwright's personal familiarity with this world, the play's treatment of it feels superficial. Its focus on the relationship between Brandon and his mother is smart, but the majority of the play is spent on the mother's journey from denial to acceptance, which it turns out is not all that compelling. The revelation of the tape is an excellent opportunity: Here is a parent whose implicit trust in her son and in the school she has entrusted his care to is shaken to the core, yet all she does is ask her son and her family over and over again to reassure her that her son is still good. A perfectly realistic self-deceptive response, but then it leaves these other parts of the story hanging. She never tries to talk to Brandon's friends, including Brandon's sort-of-boyfriend Justin (Derek Herman) who she later reveals she's had some idea about. The son's life and the mother's never directly overlap and thus never feed one another. Instead, the play relies on a couple of poorly-handled revelations and an anticlimactic mother-son fight which takes us right the point at which the story is about to get interesting."
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Aeneas Sagar Hemphill

Chicago On the Aisle - Somewhat Recommended

"...“Good Boys and True” is fraught with issues that underscore the divisions between social classes and the prerogatives that go with wealth. It also casts a cold light on what it means for parents to lavish privilege on their children. But its impact is stifled by redundancy. Even when the subject is sex, a monotonous loop of implication and evasion, no matter how fervent, makes for pretty dull theater."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Happily, the context fixes any shortfalls in the individual work. Though it predates the even swifter video scandals that YouTube and the more pandering and persecuting websites can provide, Good Boys and True is strong enough to update, and improve on, Tea and Sympathy, where it's far worse to be gay than to be falsely accused of homosexuality. Aguirre-Sacasa's two acts of compassion show us our worst to help us to its opposite."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...Will Kiley was terrific as the smiley-faced charmer , Brandon, but Maggie Cain's performance as Elizabeth is the moral center of the piece. This thought-provoking drams underscores the elitist social class divide that still is present in and around Washington. D. C. Not much has changed since 1988 when this drama was to have taken place. only today they use sexting to pass around their smut."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Somewhat Recommended

"...Director Cody Estle has assembled a fine cast, but his staging choices and the poor set design are also mistakes that cannot be overcome. The Raven Theater's small studio space is subdivided by a raised platform which traps actors in static scenes in which flailing hands are the only movement. Scenes are played along the tiny sidelines of the deck, inches away from audience members, where blocking is impossible. Others are played in end zones where the entire cast is seated to watch the drama unfold in an odd Brechtian choice that amplifies the static claustrophobia of the evening. Even the final scene, which is generally touching, seems rushed, awkward, and difficult to see."

David Zak

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Each of us is responsible for his own actions because their repercussions may reverberate far into the future. To continually reward our children simply for their existence, to drum into their heads the belief that they are #1 and not accountable to anyone else is the real crime. This play is the proof."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...Cody Estle has directed the production with assurance and intelligence. His staging decisions all work smoothly, giving the play its pace and momentum. Jeffrey Kmiec's basic set, Izumi Inaba's costumes, Chris LaPorte's sound, and the lighting design by Nick Belley and Garvin Jellison splendidly serve the language- driven drama."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...Director Cody Estle creates a fishbowl environment. He uses a traverse stage, where the audience is on two sides facing each other. Scenic Designer Jeff Kmiec lines the stage endcaps with lockers and a bench. Estle keeps his ensemble sidelined and observing until they step into their scene. Their ongoing presence reenforces their past and future connection to this impropriety."

Katy Walsh

  Good Boys and True 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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