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  On Clover Road Reviews
On Clover Road
On Clover Road

On Clover Road
American Blues Theater at Stage 773
Thru - Mar 16, 2019

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American Blues Theater at Stage 773

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...Dietz’s play ultimately feels more like a well-done homage to a familiar narrative form than a wholly original point of view. (At points, I was reminded of the 2011 film “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” about a young girl who has left a cult but still suffers from the conditioning she received.) But Kays’ production provides an absorbing, stylish and sometimes insightful snapshot of how easy it is for charlatans to ensnare those who fall by the wayside as they seek a lonely road to freedom and self-knowledge."
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Kerry Reid



Chicago Sun Times- Recommended

"...Kays cast is thrilling. As the beleaguered Kate, Whiteside personifies someone pushed to their absolute limit. Humans aren't built to be this desperate for this long. Kate is operating on a primal level, surviving only because she's clinging to the delusional hope that her daughter will return to her intact. Whiteside lets you see the cracks as Kate crumbles toward the edge of an abyss."
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Catey Sullivan



Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Dietz does not deserve all the credit. Thanks to director Halena Kays and her team of theater professionals at American Blues Theater, both on- and backstage, the pace of this production is pretty close to perfect. Every turn in the plot comes at just the moment we think we-finally-know who is who and what is happening. And each performance is riveting without being overwrought. Gwendolyn Whiteside is compelling as the grieving mother, yearning to set her daughter free. And Philip Earl Johnson is terrific and terrifying as a strong-willed, utterly unscrupulous, perhaps-savior turned villain we will, by the end of the evening, love and hate with equal fury."
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Jack Helbig



Chicago On the Aisle- Highly Recommended

"...Kate Hunter is terrified, desperate, hanging on by her fingernails. Her adolescent daughter ran away three years ago, and finally Kate has a lead to the girl's seclusion in a cult - even a glimmer of hope that on this day, all may end well. That's why, in Steven Dietz's thriller "On Clover Road," we find Kate holed up in a dilapidated motel room with a brusque, imperious de-programmer who claims he's experienced at reeling kids back from the abyss. The room, this marvelous ramshackle room at the center of American Blues Theater's heart-stopping production, speaks volumes, like one more player in a dark tale."
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Lawrence B. Johnson



Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Are you a thriller buff? If you do, have I got a show for you! The title of the show is “On Clover Road”, written by Steven Dietz, who after seeing this piece, I will seek out to read and see more of his works. This is one of those plays were I must hold back on the story so I will not ruin the surprises that are contained within it. The basic story is about a woman, Kate Hunter ( Gwendolyn Whiteside is as always powerful and wonderful in this exhausting role), who is trying to get her daughter back from the cult where she is living. For years, she has tried to get assistance from the police and agencies who say that since the daughter left on her own, they can do nothing."
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Alan Bresloff



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...It’s said that a thriller offers audiences a unique form of escapism. Theatergoers experience a catharsis in watching others face danger and escape from it. The ability to frighten and manipulate the theatergoer isn’t always easy to achieve. However, director Halena Kays has managed to accomplish this, in spades. She’s helped her talented ensemble develop a cast of multi-layered characters, both sympathetic and repugnant, and to create a drama of relenting suspense. Guaranteed to quicken pulses and keep audiences on the edge of their seats, this is not a play for the feint of heart. It may, as it did opening night, provoke some patrons to cry out in response, and it most certainly will inspire a few nightmares. American Blues Theater has a hit of heart-stopping horror on its hands."
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Colin Douglas



The Hawk Chicago- Recommended

"...Overall, On Clover Road is a fun and creepy theatrical experience, and with its easily-digestible run-time, American Blues' latest should appeal to anyone who enjoys sitting on the edge of their seat. Like many "popcorn" movies, Steven Dietz's play is best if you don't try to think about it too much, and there are probably two or three twists too many. But overall the strong team at American Blues has assembled an emotional roller coaster of a piece--one full of twists, turns, and thrills."
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Jason Berger



Chicago Theater and Arts- Highly Recommended

"...It's not often that a play comes around that creates such drama and suspense, your heart races and you might have to look away. Such is the case with the live performance of "On Clover Road," playing at American Blues Theater through March 16, 2019."
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Jodie Jacobs



Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...This is a play that will keep you on the edge of your seat no matter who you are. If you have any children, though, and especially if you’ve managed to get to the teen years, you’ll be tremendously affected by Kate’s plight. I stare at that picture of my own daughter, and I try to imagine the living death of losing her by her own choice, and it’s terrifying. On Clover Road is one hell of a thrill ride, taking you places you never really want to go. But that’s the whole point of thrill rides, right? We use them to face fear in a safe manner. As FDR said, we have nothing to fear but fear itself; sometimes, though, that can be enough."
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Karen Topham



PicksInSix- Recommended

"...Director Halena Kays has assembled a superbly talented ensemble featuring ABT's artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside (Kate) with fellow ABT ensemble member Philip Earl Johnson (Stine). I found it especially satisfying to see these two fine Chicago actors rip through Dietz's irresistibly suspenseful 90-minute work, which is set in three movements over the course of a single day. Jon Hudson Odom adds his formidable skills to the role of Harris McClain, and Grace Smith is terrific in the role of The Girl."
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Ed Tracy



Picture This Post- Recommended

"...There’s surprises and intrigue around every turn with heightened emotions so we’re never sure what’s coming next. ON CLOVER ROAD might not be the best fit for someone who is looking for a more straightforward plotline. But if you love thrillers, twists, and uncertainty this show would be a good fit for you."
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Alexis Bugajski



Rescripted- Highly Recommended

"...To me, it was clear that the team at American Blues Theatre are passionate about this project. This is shown in their abundance of town halls and post-show discussions, but also in their very detailed and researched backstage guide. Ultimately, On Clover Road has many ah-ha lines about motherhood, raising teenagers, the manipulation of men, and about what truth is. One line that really stuck with me was “Children are not made of rubber, but glass – they shatter”, this is often true. We as adults carry the scars and bruises of our adolescence; they shape who we become. But if you want to know the other prophetic lines in the show you will just have to see it. No thriller, especially not one that works like this, should be spoiled."
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Lonnae Hickman