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  Timon of Athens at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Timon of Athens

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 East Grand Avenue Chicago

In a high-risk world of quick profits and borrowed luxury, Timon is a financial god among men. But when the tides of monetary fortune turn, and his former friends become ruthless creditors, Timon is left in an all-too-familiar financial freefall. The cast of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines' staging of Shakespeare's powerful, rarely produced dark satire is led by Tony Award winner Ian McDiarmid—an internationally celebrated actor whose credits range from performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company and on Broadway, to a turn as Senator and Evil Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars films.

Thru - Jun 10, 2012



Price: $44-$75

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-595-5600

www.chicagoshakes.com


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  Timon of Athens Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"... That said, McDiarmid's enigmatic persona, familiar to fans of George Lucas' "Star Wars" movies, is not without its appeal — in a performance that reminds me of something by Austin Pendleton, McDiarmid reads no line as you would expect it to be read. His late-in-the-play madness, which has shades of King Lear (Timon's big brother in limited human judgment), feels authentic and earned, and there is something in the way this experienced and fully consumed actor translates this language into colloquial expression. But while you see a rich portrait of the consequence of the world on man who tried to share his success and his failures, you never understand enough of why and how the man ever thought that would be possible."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"... Small and wiry, with spare white hair, a neat little beard, a slyly impish bearing and an impressive level of physical agility and energy, McDiarmid (whose accent bears a hint of both a burr and a lisp) is front and center throughout much of the play, particularly in its second act. And he brings an intriguing blend of decency and shallowness, effete swagger and self-deceptive blindness to his canny portrayal."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...The whole bunch are a pleasure to watch. On the other hand, Gaines makes us sit through set pieces she's overused elsewhere—the decadent bit with strippers, the ominous final tableau—none of which helps her or us make sense of Timon. Still, on yet another hand, coherence may be too much to ask given the cut-and-paste character of the script itself, a minor work any way you look at it."
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Tony Adler


Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Gaines also wisely casts, in the role of Timon, Ian McDiarmid, who renders our deluded hero a scrappy self-made magnate as extreme in his celebration of wealth as in his later rejection of it, and whose English vocal range—along with such AARP stuntwork as leaping off tables and stripping down to the buff for his final walk into the sunset—endows his lengthier diatribes with a delivery sufficiently varied to ensure our attention for the duration."
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Centerstage - Recommended

"...Timon of Athens is one of Shakespeare’s least loved works. This is of course, a highly relative statement because even Shakespeare at his most mediocre is pretty good. This middling play gets an enormous lift from one of Shakespeare’s greatest contemporary interpreters, Barbara Gaines, in the current Chicago Shakespeare Theater production."

Rory Leahy


Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...McDiarmid, the British stage and screen star perhaps best known stateside as Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars films, gives a highly detailed, idiosyncratic performance as Timon, who turns bitterly misanthropic and exiles himself from Athens following his betrayal. Yet he and Gaines don’t demonstrate a point of view about the man’s motivations. Which is madder—expecting the best of humanity or expecting the worst? Blues-rock interludes by sound designer Lindsay Jones are weirdly incongruous."
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Kris Vire


Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"... What we conventionally refer to as Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens” is a fascinating albeit problematic play, a bizarre, rather loosely knit tragedy co-written with Thomas Middleton. With an eye to tightening and sharpening this uneven work, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre has streamlined “Timon” to a degree that indeed quickens its pace, though at some cost to the play’s original shape and fullness."
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Lawrence B. Johnson


Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"... It is guaranteed that you will not leave the theater complaining of boredom, and CST is to be commended for proving how unworkable this play is, but there may be a lesson in all of this: maybe theaters around the country will stop over-producing playwrights’ unworthy works because of their popular name (LaBute and Mamet come to mind) if we can be politically incorrect enough to admit even the Bard himself created a stinker – whether he had help or not."
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Tony Frankel


ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"... It is a joy to see a seldom produced Shakespeare work, such as Timon of Athens, so lively staged and so expertly acted.At only 2 hours,15 minutes including intermission, it is s fine play to introduce folks to the wonders of The Barbs work."
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Tom Williams


Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"... McDiarmid, a superbly supple, velvet-voiced English actor, tackles the killer title role, a wrenching reversal that requires a 180 degree turn in temperament as much as fortune. McDiarmid ,who can turn gratingly mechanical or silky smooth, moves Timon from the suites to the shores with scary accuracy. It also helps that McDiarmid bears an uncanny resemblance to pyramid-schemer Bernie Madoff."

Lawrence Bommer


Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"... And on the stage, the all-male revue (plus some exotic *female* dancers) are a testosterone-oozing bunch. Gaines keeps the movement playful and searing, like a high-powered stag party. The talented cast is a bunch of users. And the target of their deception is a charismatic Ian McDiarmid (Timon). In the first act, McDiarmid is the flashy gregarious host thoroughly enjoying his view from the head of the table. Later, McDiarmid dissects life with poignant snark. His performance transforms as his situation does. Where he ends up philosophically compared to where his old entourage ends up literally is a powerful and unforgettable finish.x
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Katy Walsh


Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"... Director Barbara Gaines, takes this play, written sometime in the 1600′s, to modern times ( as often the case at CST) and it works flawlessly. Timon ( masterfully played by Ian McDiarmid) is a God among his peers as he is the marvel of the money world. They have placed this in the futures trading market. Everyone loves and adores this man, but as his fortunes change, and his followers become his creditors, his world changes. Although he is warned by his loyal steward Flavius ( Sean Fortunato in yet another role dealing with financial situations) he takes no heed and Timon finds himself near bankruptcy. All of his “great friends” will not come to his rescue and so he tosses a very lavish party, invites them all and then as the first act ends, destroys all that has been set upon the banquet table and bashes these men who have let him down."
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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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