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Killing Game
Killing Game

Killing Game
A Red Orchid Theatre
Thru - Jun 23, 2019

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A Red Orchid Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Somewhat Recommended

"...I’d argue that the relentless intensity needs more contrast and the audience more attention — you have to give people a way into material like this, and moments of gentle vulnerability actually work well in Ionesco, even if the overall ambiance is one of existential chaos. We need a normative referent to fully understand when the world combusts. Otherwise, it’s all just reaction to extreme but episodic behavior."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...Director Dado takes a scattershot approach to the text, employing various devices—video, face masks, hand puppets, campy costuming, even kitchen utensils—in nearly every scene, creating little opportunity for ideas to develop or deepen. Understandably, her game cast, featuring several of the city's finest actors—each awkwardly carrying a stylized artificial limb for 100 minutes—never find a way to settle into this unsettled stage world."
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Justin Hayford

Windy City Times- Highly Recommended

"...A really wonderful director, Dado, has staged this production with great imagination and vitality, incorporating musical chants ( medieval reference ), props shaped like body-part props ( there's just a touch of cannibalism ) and video ( Michael Shannon cameo ) among other devices. The ensemble of 13 actors—none of whom play a specifically named character—performs with energy and surprising focus given the play's checkerboard structure. Near the end, an ancient couple appears, oblivious to the death around them, enthusing about love and the world's beauty ... which seems to be the plague's antidote. If only it were that simple!"
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Jonathan Abarbanel

Chicago On the Aisle- Highly Recommended

"..."Killing Game" won't solve the Big Riddle for you. But this imaginative production directed by Dado will provide you with acidly brilliant company at A Red Orchid Theatre, where 13 skilled actors play many, many roles - because otherwise their parts would have been exceedingly brief. The citizens of this small town are dropping dead in dizzying succession, and in often ridiculous fashion, of an unknown cause."
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Nancy Malitz

Around The Town Chicago- Recommended

"...A Red Orchid, a favorite theatre of mine, has brought the mind of Eugene Ionesco to their intimate space on Wells Street. The play is “Killing Game”, and deals with subject matter that may turn your stomach, or to many may seem very realistic.Many young audiences have never experienced any of the works of this playwrite, so they are in for some shocks along the way. “Rhinoceros” was one of his plays ( 1959) and I recall doing this ( asst. stage manager) show for Wilmette Community Theatre back in 1962. It is truly “theatre of the absurd” and in the “Killing Game”, Ionesco stays true to form."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...Actually, there is much to distrust in this play, which lacks the energy, sly humor and underlying sanity of Ionesco’s better-known works. Death is indeed a fact and presence that defies and transcends ideology. However, Ionesco goes too far here, not merely pointing out the futility of managing or minimizing our mortality, but portraying the Grim Reaper as the answer to modern hubris and triviality. By siding with death, he reduces life to a cruel joke."
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Hugh Iglarsh

Chicago Theatre Review- Recommended

"...Ionesco’s play certainly won’t be for everyone. It’s a shockingly strange theatrical experience that’s the stuff of nightmares. But then any Red Orchid fan already knows to expect the unexpected from this gifted theatre troupe. This is a company known for its daring and dynamic productions, and in this Dado doesn’t disappoint. Theatergoers fascinated by Absurdist theatre and who enjoy their dramas laced with gallows humor, will find a lot to like in this grotesque pageant of blood, body parts and buffoonery."
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Colin Douglas

Third Coast Review- Recommended

"...Dado’s direction of this 105-minute circus is beautifully orchestrated and enhanced by original music and musical direction by Elenna Sindler. Killing Game is thin on plot, but throughout the production, people die suddenly of the plague, or scourge, no matter how hard they try to protect themselves from contamination. The impotent government does nothing. (Movement director Laurie Roberts gets a special mention for coaching her actors on how to die creatively. Another special credit goes to stilts consultant Scott Dare, who coached Death, a black-cloaked character who lurks and looms throughout.) The cast is uniformly excellent, with special mention warranted for Lance Baker, Doug Vickers and fifth grader Katherine Mallen Kupferer, and beautiful vocal work by Sarah Thompson Johansen."
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Nancy Bishop

Chicago On Stage- Recommended

"...The Killing Game is most definitely not for everyone. It is the perfect example of why this site has a yellow light designation: a play that is brilliantly directed and performed but which is, by its very nature, odd and off-putting. There is a reason it is not one of Ionesco’s more well-known pieces: it’s as if the playwright, who often mused about the absurdity of life and the inevitability of death, just wanted one huge “Game of Thrones” level annihilation to develop his ideas. In the hands of Dado, though, it is a piece that can occasionally make you laugh and very likely haunt you and make you think, and that is ultimately what Ionesco is all about."
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Karen Topham