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  Holding The Man Reviews
Holding The Man
Holding The Man

Holding The Man
Pride Arts Center - The Broadway
Thru - Aug 26, 2018

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Show Information


Pride Arts Center - The Broadway

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Somewhat Recommended

"...In many ways, “Holding the Man” is not so different from, say, William Hoffman’s “As Is,” or any number of other plays from the 1980s and 1990s dealing with the human costs of the AIDS epidemic. Many of those works were produced at the old Bailiwick Arts Center, run by the same artistic director, David Zak, who continues on at Pride Films and Plays. On the basis of this production, you couldn’t really argue that “Holding the Man” betters any of them, and it certainly does not have the political articulation of, say, one of Larry Kramer’s plays. But theater is a time-bound art. And what you will likely feel, I think, if you find your way to the show, is a strangely intense feeling of sadness at the heavy price paid by so many, even as so few cared."
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Chris Jones



Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...Director Michale D. Graham's perfunctory staging for Pride Films and Plays, which struggles to create a meaningful stage picture or an effective rhythm, is no help."
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Justin Hayford



Windy City Times- Recommended

"...Kronlokken tackles the not-so-easy task of playing Tim in all his self-absorption and self-recriminations, while Hansen's John—despite not having the same emotional highs and lows as his partner—shows us the sweet, shy and steady determination of a man who finds his true love early and sees no reason not to keep holding the man, no matter how much it costs him."
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Kerry Reid



Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...Despite the sometimes exasperating Australian accents and jargon, it’s hard to imagine more truth, love, pain or joy on one stage in two hours. Hansen and Kronlokken delight and convince in all directions. It’s totally right that theater, its every essence transient and conditional, so eloquently echoes the equal evanescence of love and life. Sometimes it doesn’t matter a damn whether art imitates life or life returns the compliment."
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Lawrence Bommer



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...But knowing that Tim and John, the two main characters of this Australian story, were actual, real-life young men, cut down in the prime of their lives, makes this play that much more sad and agonizing. Given a sensitive, very adult treatment, as part of David Zak’s repertory Summer Pride Fest, this production can be enjoyed on two levels. First, it’s bound to bring back a few tender, even painful memories to some audiences, while bringing to life one of the most tragic chapters in LGBT history for those too young to have experienced it firsthand."
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Colin Douglas



Chicago Theater Beat- Highly Recommended

"...Running in repertory with two other plays, Hurricane Damage and F*cking Men, as part of PAC Pride Fest, Holding the Man is the clear frontrunner. Both giggle-inducing and devastating, it had me sniffling in my seat and then walking away from the Pride Arts Center, contemplating the nature of love."

Lauren Emily Whalen



Third Coast Review- Somewhat Recommended

"...Evan Frank's set is simple, but suggests the theatricality inherent in Tim's life. Drama, both real and imagined, are central to playwright Tommy Murphy's thesis on self discovery and the obstacles of gay love during unforgiving times. If the entirety lacks a bit of cohesion, it's hard to fault either play or production fully. The script feels a bit overlong, and try as it might, director Michael D. Graham's bare-bones style, with onstage costume changes and furniture flying in and out, only seems to add length to the proceedings. But arriving at the bittersweet and thoughtful finale, I recognized some real merit in the journey. Holding the Man's heart is always in the right place."
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Matthew Nerber



Chicago On Stage- Somewhat Recommended

"...I really want to like this play. It’s a true story about an important subject and it is well-acted. But with the first act not slowing down long enough to get inside of anyone but Tim, we don’t actually get to know the man about whom we will be asked to care the most, John. Other than an aspiring chiropractor and a one-time athlete, who is he? Because the play is told from Tim’s POV, the perspective of John’s longtime lover, we should know more, but we don’t. There is great sadness at the death, of course; it is a very powerful moment. But how much more powerful might it have been had Murphy been able to give us a character we really knew before killing him off? We can never know. All we know for certain is that Holding the Man, though it endears itself to us on several occasions, could have been stronger. It does not reach the level of the pantheon of AIDS plays to which it aspires."
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Karen Topham



Picture This Post- Recommended

"...Kronlokken and Hansen both rise to the challenge of showing people maturing quickly. Hansen’s John is a very self-contained presence, and what we see of his family life suggests why. Shyer than his partner and less political, with an athlete’s sense of discipline, he is a more important anchor than Tim realizes. Kronlokken’s Tim is a gregarious presence, adventurous, charming, and good at getting what he wants from people. He has some heartbreaking moments when he realizes the full magnitude of his recklessness and his filled with shame and horror. His telling of his story feels like a confession. But it is one which communicates enough of two peoples’ lives to make them more than symbols. It also captured a bit of an era and fits well into the rest of the summer pride fest."
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Jacob Davis