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  The Real Thing at Writers Theatre

The Real Thing

Writers Theatre
325 Tudor Court Glencoe

A married playwright blurs the line between reality and his dramas on the stage as his personal life unravels before his very eyes. Deeply moving and bitingly funny, Tom Stoppard’s razor sharp drama brilliantly examines the complex nature of love, art and reality. Artistic Director Michael Halberstam directs this multi-award winning modern classic.

Thru - Dec 4, 2011

Price: $45-$55

Stage: Performed at 325 Tudor Court

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 847-242-6000

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  The Real Thing Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...In Michael Halberstam's smart, stimulating and sometimes beguiling production of the 1982 Tom Stoppard play about how smart, stimulating and sometimes beguiling people can have crisis-strewn love lives, this remarkable young actress, one of the most arresting talents to suddenly appear in Chicago in years, achieves one thing above all else. Plying her theatrical trade at Writers' Theatre, where most bedrooms are set well back from the street but many of the denizens are familiar with the art of negotiation, Coon forges an aggressive, dangerously desirable, young woman — one whom a man can never be sure won't one day get up and leave."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...The extraordinary achievement of director Michael Halberstam’s fast-moving, crystal-clear production at Writers’ Theatre is that he and his actors have found a way to generate the searing heat — the heart and soul — of Stoppard’s play without ever sacrificing its sleek, silvery surface. The bristling braininess, the caustic wit, the brilliant density of language and thought are all here. But they never feel artificial. And they never blind you to the emotional exhilaration and breath-stopping despair Stoppard is trying to evoke, or to the palpable sense that no matter how promising a relationship might start off being it can turn sour, almost imperceptibly, in a matter of months."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...Stoppard may be the only living playwright capable of creating a Henry, and his work here is very often dazzling. Michael Halberstam's staging, too--very often dazzling. And yet there are odd holes in both the script and the production. Sean Fortunato's Henry, in particular, helps sustain an entertaining evening, but he's not believable in certain crucial moments when it really matters."
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Tony Adler

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"... Coon’s confident, sly Annie is a character in transition. Each affair is an opportunity to find out what she truly wants, and the actor’s ability to convey that uncertainty brings the character to a sympathetic place. The versatility and depth of Writers’ cast prevent Stoppard’s heavily referential dialogue from becoming cold and detached; the ease with which the ensemble accesses the raw emotion beneath the cerebral language is a testament to Halberstam’s strong direction."
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Oliver Sava

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...While “The Real Thing” is very much an ensemble vehicle, it has a specific center in Henry, a successful British playwright and witty master of the English language given to knee-jerk corrections of other people’s word usage and grammar. As geniuses tend to be, Henry is enthusiastically self-centered. Which is not to say he doesn’t love Annie, an actress who now shares his life. Time was, though, when he felt much the same way about Charlotte, also an actress."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...So it really is a play that is made up of people. It is Stoppard recapturing his humanity after playing with artifice and theatre for the past decade. It is a powerful and beautiful piece of art. And this production leaves one in that warm blanket felt after witnessing something psychically satisfying and exceptionally executed. Sean Fortunato is a whip; Carrie Coon a firecracker; and the remaining cast equally as strong. Natasha Lowe is heartbreaking; John Sanders is charming; Jordan Lane Shappell is a compelling youth, Ryan Hallahan lip-curling. And Rae Gray comes in, puts her work in, and proves once again why she’s filling roles in this town. Never mind the hype, it’s always bollocks."
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Will Fink

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...Stoppard is not for everybody, but for those of you who enjoy sharp, witty comedy with a little bit of heart warming reality, you will walk away from this one with a good feeling. Writers’ , now in its 20th season always brings us quality theater in its very intimate theaters. This production is at their Tudor Court stage ( they also have an even smaller theater a few blocks south in the back of the bookstore) and as part of making us take notice, the set for this show ( Collette pollard) is quite unique in that the walls move, slide and convert from one scene to another right before our eyes as well as the handling of furniture and props ( Nick Heggestad truly does a magnificent job) and the stage crew should get a curtain call for their beautifully choreographed scene changes)."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing maps the topography of love with uncanny precision. It also explores-to-exploits the contrast between life and art. That subversion shows up in the first scene. We’re tricked into thinking it depicts a real-life breakup, but it’s really a scene from “House of Cards,” a drama by Henry–who we meet in the second scene, which takes place in the real “real life.” But life actually imitates art: Eventually Henry will break up with his actress wife Charlotte and reinvent love with Annie, an activist actress who will test their bonds but never break them."

Lawrence Bommer

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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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