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  Hickorydickory at Chicago Dramatists


Chicago Dramatists
1105 W Chicago Chicago

Hickorydickory explores what would happen if we all had an internal clock telling us the time of our death. Someone has tinkered with Cari Lee's mortal clock, so she's stuck at 17 for eternity. Now she's the same age as her daughter Dale. But Dale's worried about her own mortal clock ­ the one that tells her the day and time she'll die. Dad's an expert clock-smith, but some timepieces are not meant to be tampered with.

Thru - Jun 12, 2011

Price: $32

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-633-0630

Running Time: 2hrs, 50mins; two intermission

  Hickorydickory Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Russ Tutterow's premiere production is solid and honest, but it doesn't mine all the emotional depths of this script. There is one lovely, wholly authentic performance from Melvin as Dale (Melvin also plays the younger version of her own mother in the time-traveling second act, as other actors also shift characters in ways that you are best experiencing in real time). And Gebbia, who plays Jimmy, has a very appealing simplicity and honesty. But at other points, the production doesn't always cut away the comedy when the script demands the acting veer into something much deeper: The potential force of this piece lies in that contrast. Here, the stakes don't always rise with the script. You want to see much more of an emotional connection between Melvin's character and Gail Rastorfer, who plays her stepmother, Kate, and is a tad too invulnerable. And while Dubach injects all kinds of energy into the piece -- she's a zestful actress -- she really does not play as 17."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Love is what tethers us to life, Wegryzn reminds us, though she takes us on a needlessly long and gothic road to that conclusion."
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Hedy Weiss

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...This world-premiere production is in three acts and runs two hours and 40 minutes, which is somewhat longer than it needs to be. Other than that, there's no fault to be found with how director Russ Tutterow and his amiable five-person cast have brought it to life with humor and compassion. Simon Lashford's storefront scenic design, brimming with clocks and tools, is a thing of beauty, and Barry Bennett's music and soundscape add an important element."
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Jonathan Abarbanel

Centerstage - Recommended

"...Much as I wish the rules of this fictional game were clearer, “Hickorydickory” is still a very solid mix of wrenching drama, science fantasy, verbal comedy and inspired slapstick."

Rory Leahy

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...The nearly three-hour play could use some judicious trimming; the “mortal clock” count might be a good place for the playwright to start. And Tutterow’s production, though it features fine performances (particularly from the appealingly honest Gebbia and the absolutely artifice-free Melvin), could delve a little deeper into the human emotions inherent in Wegrzyn’s setup. Still, Hickorydickory’s heartrending climax ought to stop your own clock for at least a few seconds."
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Kris Vire

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...I was impressed with this cast that finds most actors playing two roles. Thomas Gebbia and Gail Rastorfer lead with strong performances. Joanne Dubach’s Cari Lee is precious while Cathlyn Melvin’s Dale and Young Kate is heartwarming. Tyler Ross sports a rich Irish brogue then turns into a charming teen as Jimmy. This cast works hard to deliver the mixture of realism and magical fantasy. We care and accept Wegrzyn’s innovative concept that surely gets us thinking about our own mortality. We fantasize on what would happen if we knew when we were to die? Hickorydickory offers some clues.  Don’t miss this marvelously quirky and highly imaginative new work from one of Chicago’s major talented young playwrights. This show will grab you."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...Russ Tutterow’s staging keeps a script that’s both expansive and concentrated well under control and fascinating throughout. Simon Lashford’s wonderful clock store surrounds us with beautiful timepieces—though, sinisterly enough, none actually work. That action belongs to five adept performers, four of whom play double roles as they depict more than one generation. Thomas Gebbia plays both his son and father as well as Dale’s, while Gail Rastofer is his mother and his second wife (who can’t have children but can still give love). Cathlyn Melvin doubles as Dale and her mother when she met Jimmy, while Tyler Ross is Rowan and the young Jimmy. Only Joanne Dubach sticks to one role—as the preternaturally 17-year-old Cari Lee who, winsomely enough, wants a second chance at life and love."

Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...As the play opens , in the present day, we meet a happy family, Jimmy ( deftly handled by Thomas Gebbia, who also plays his father in Act two which goes back in time some 18 plus years), his wife Kate ( a stunning performance by Gail Rastorfer, who also plays Jimmy’s mother in act two) and their daughter, Dale ( the adorable Cathlyn Melvin) who is about to turn 18. All appears fine until it is discovered that she has found a broken pocket watch in her father’s closet and asks the shop helper Rowan ( Tyler ross plays this young man as well as young Jimmy in the second act and displays his versatility in handling two different types of young men withgreat ease) to fix this watch. This pocket watch turns out to be the “mortal clock” of her actual birth mother, a woman that she has no memory of. This is where it gets a bit macabre, but in a good way."
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Alan Bresloff

   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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