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  London Assurance at City Lit Theater

London Assurance

City Lit Theater
1020 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue Chicago

Grace Harkaway, who considers herself immune to love, is marrying an elderly man for his money. Then she meets his son. Then the elderly man meets horse-riding virago Lady Gay Spanker. This comedy by Irish playwright Dion Boucicault was first produced in 1841, and was a bridge between Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedies of manners from the late 18th Century to the late 19th Century comedies of Oscar Wilde, who was influenced by London Assurance.

Thru - Jul 23, 2017

Price: $27-$32

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 773-293-3682

Running Time: 2hrs, 30mins; one intermission

  London Assurance Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Director Terry McCabe's production of "London Assurance" takes no such liberties as Jacobs-Jenkins' script. But it's well worth seeing, and not just as a rarity. (Rare in Chicago, that is - it's had several Broadway and London revivals over the years.) Though the first act takes a little while to find its legs (and not just because the wastrel son at the center of the story enters on booze-infused rubber limbs), McCabe's ensemble finds the comic rhythm by the time the story moves to the country for a weekend of romantic high jinks and hidden identities."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Dion Boucicoult's arch 1841 comedy of manners gets a spirited and fully committed production at City Lit. This story of bumbling boors, chiseling social climbers, and simpering fops gallivanting and scheming around the London countryside is crisply performed by a uniformly excellent cast."
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Dmitry Samarov

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...It's great fun—from the snobbish and perceptive servants to the caricatured Upper Class types—and director Terry McCabe has staged it well, with relatively simple blocking ( stage movement ), a colorful drawing room set ( design by Ray Toler, painted by Shannon Evans ) and lavish costumes ( Tom Kieffer ) and hair stylings/wigs ( Bob Kuper ). McCabe wants Boucicault's wit to speak for itself and it does, but audiences must listen well to get it all. It's not just the substantial English town-and-country dialects ( coached by Carrie Hardin ) but the fact that plays of this era are language-heavy, and the speech is not entirely modern."
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Jonathan Abarbanel

Theatre By Numbers - Recommended

"..."London Assurance" covers familiar territory for British farces of the early 1800s. An old man is engaged to a nubile youth of 18 years. The geezer's son meets the young lady and falls in love. She, too, has feelings for the younger guy. Additional characters get involved, muddle the plot, and everything works out in the end. It's fun, funny, and mostly predictable. And, that's okay. In fact, it's quite enjoyable."
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Christopher Kidder-Mostrom

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...Oscar Wilde's irresistible comedies exalting the escapades of the silly rich have never gone out of style, but City Lit Theater has done Chicago a big favor in allowing us to make the acquaintance of an all but forgotten playwright who was Wilde's spiritual father of sorts."
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Nancy Malitz

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...After so long a departure, it's swell to welcome back this comedy, a brilliant hybrid of the eighteenth century drawing room delights that preceded it (Goldsmith, Gay and Sheridan) and the well-made farces that followed (Wilde, Shaw, Pinero, and Barrie). Perhaps more than any year before, 2017 needs a sense of humor. In these darkening days we crave an excuse to giggle, titter, chuckle, chortle, cackle, snigger, snort and hoot. There's a bit of each in the 145 minutes of London Assurance."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...Kudos to Terry McCabe for keeping the action moving. His cast delivers the humor with deft aplomb making London Assurance a most enjoyable old fashion commedy of manners. We, Americans, can't seem to get onough British humor; London Assurance has that aplenty."
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"... I really enjoy well-acted period plays, especially those in which the characters offer up one witty bon mot after another, all with perfect manners. City Lit Theater’s production of “London Assurance” fits that criteria well. If you don’t enjoy language as much as I do, however, you might agree with my friend, Nancy, who said it just wasn’t her thing, although she did like the costumes."
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Carol Moore

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...City Lit's production of "London Assurance" offers a traditional yet satisfying Victorian comedy. Originally written in 1841, the giant cast of characters and the "asides" used gratuitously to reveal characters' inner thoughts are uncommon in modern theater, to say the very least. And yet, director Terry McCabe's team makes two hours and thirty minutes engaging and enjoyable."
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Danielle Levsky

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...For a play that's over 175 years old, this comedy of manners is still as funny and topical as it was when it was written. Dion Boucicault's first theatrical success, and originally performed at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden, it's been revived several times over the years times, both in London and on Broadway. Finally, returning to Chicago, we can enjoy all of its mockery and mirth. These elegant, eccentric characters will find their way into every theatergoer's heart, making it worth the long wait."
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Colin Douglas

Irish American News - Highly Recommended

"...London Assurance is a rollicking, fun-filled comedy that is full of enthusiasm for life. We especially need the fun of a comedy now because of all the grim things that happen in our world. London Assurance was written by the 21 year old Irishman, Dion Boucicault. It premiered in 1841 and ran for the long period of 69 nights. It has been a favorite play for American and English stages ever since."
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Frank West

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...City Lit Theater gives a corker of a production of Dion Boucicault's farce. London Assurance is a silly delight, full of colorful characters, sharp dialogue, and tricky situations. Given the fine work on display here, the fact that it hasn't been performed in Chicago since 1897 seems as absurd as the coincidences and contrivances in the show itself."
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Harold Jaffe

LeBon Travel and Culture - Highly Recommended

"...It's easy to see how this witty madcap of a play would have an effect on Oscar Wilde. He too based his outrageous farcical works on the hilarity of human nature. No matter the years, human nature doesn't change, which is why this reincarnation of London Assurance still works. Furthermore, the committed cast, all of whom look as if they're having a great deal of fun, succeed in convincing us to join in and enjoy their frivolity."
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Betty Mohr

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   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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