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  Plainclothes Reviews

Broken Nose Theatre at The Den Theatre
Thru - Dec 15, 2018

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Broken Nose Theatre at The Den Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...But "Plainclothes" clearly was thrilling its audience on Thursday night - Broken Nose and its actors are all skilled, live and in the moment, and there is a rather delicious sensibility that anything might happen. Along with New Colony (another hugely talented Chicago company that tends not to cut or polish), Broken Nose really is redefining the storefront aesthetic in this city. The show has a element of improvisation, but also a hyper-naturalistic sensibility and several amped-up performances from the likes of Alejandro Tey, Stephanie Shum and RjW Mays, who is exceptionally funny. There are eleven actors in this cast - all crammed into a crummy office that doubles as a jail."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...But there's no getting around the fact that the central incident and subsequent corporate drama that all of the timely questions about racial profiling and quotas and law enforcement's handling of petty offenses hinges on just doesn't ring true. Even though it doesn't quite reach the level of profundity it strives toward, Plainclothes functions as a smart, observant hangout work comedy."
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Dan Jakes

Windy City Times- Recommended

"...Davis clearly has writing and directing chops—he sets up situations well, understands pacing and writes good dialogue—but Plainclothes would be stronger performed in one act with more emphasis earlier on the cover-up, which now comes arbitrarily out of left field. Also, characters must say each other's names early and often—Playwriting 101—since the program doesn't list them in order of appearance. Finally, a subplot between Booty Shorts and Mary, an older store employee ( astutely performed by RjW Mays ), is extremely effective but unconnected to the plot ( although it has to do with racism ). Can it be made intrinsic to plot?"
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Jonathan Abarbanel

Time Out Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Co-directed by Davis and Kanomé Jones, the play was developed in concert with the cast—a process inspired by the one that writer Michael Perlman used for At The Table, which Davis directed for Broken Nose Theatre last year. The dialogue in Plainclothes achieves a similarly naturalistic, overlapping flow, but with far greater energy and volume. (It’s the difference between a babbling brook and burst water main.) Davis doesn’t quite pull off some of the sleight of hand moves his story requires—the first scene after intermission contains a plot twist so severe it feels more like a reboot—but Plainclothes’ rococo mixture of vivacity and cynicism carries it out of trouble and onward towards its raucous conclusion: one where cowardice becomes indistinguishable from malice."
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Alex Huntsberger

Let's Play at ChicagoNow- Highly Recommended

"...Davis does an excellent job with casting an ensemble that seems to have formed a picture-perfect, textbook cast. Each character does an amazing performance of playing off the other character like a masterful piece of a puzzle collectively telling the story of their challenges working security. This play is what all wanna-be actors should see if they are interested in acting."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

NewCity Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...“Plainclothes” is ensemble work at its finest. Even the actors with less stage time shine when they come in. That is an amazingly positive side effect of the workshopping done by Davis and co-director Kanomé Jones. This play is, undoubtedly, a collaborative gem."
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Amana Finn

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...This exciting new play by company member Spenser Davis absolutely explodes upon the Den Theatre stage and leaves its emotional shrapnel embedded in the mind every audience member. It’s raw and rugged, populated with fascinating, colorful characters and features a story that will haunt the theatergoer and refuse to leave for a long time."
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Colin Douglas

The Fourth Walsh- Recommended

"...The storytelling is arresting! I want to tune in for another episode, maybe even binge it. The talented ensemble make us care about their individual stories and dreams. PLAINCLOTHES is comedy with depth."
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Katy Walsh

Picture This Post- Recommended

"...The humor in Davis’ sharp script never falters. According to the local cop (Kim Boler), the American Girl store is “where dreams put on dresses and die.” Sales associate Mary (RjW Mays) took one bite of Brady’s delicious quiche “and saw the afterlife.” Mixed-race Llermo (Alejandro Tey) describes Michael Bublé as “zero-calorie Sinatra” and Bublé’s holiday loop as “worse than waterboarding.”"
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Susan Lieberman