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  Camino Real at Goodman Theatre

Camino Real

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Street Chicago

Tennessee Williams' hauntingly poetic allegory takes us to the mysterious Camino Real, a surreal netherworld populated by a colorful collection of lost souls anxious to escape but terrified of the unknown wasteland lurking beyond the city's walls. When Kilroy, an American traveler and former boxer, inadvertently lands in Camino Real, he sets off on a phantasmagoric venture through illusion and temptation in an attempt to flee its confines—and defy his grim destiny. Called "one of Williams' most imaginative plays" by The New York Times, Camino Real is a sensual carnival of desire and desperation.

Thru - Apr 8, 2012

Price: $25-$79

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-443-3800

Running Time: 1hr, 50mins

Goodman Theatre Seating Charts

Suggested Nearby Restaurant

  Camino Real Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...this is still a show serious theater fans will not want to miss. Leave kids (and teens) at home, but be neither fazed nor overly distracted by the explicit content, which is no more intense than you can see from time to time in other Chicago theaters (albeit generally smaller ones), and mostly indicative of this great director's attempts to get to the heart of the matter and allow his actors to use every weapon in their arsenal. Because Bieito is so free-ranging, the set design, by Rebecca Ringst, is a thrilling melange of neon and soaring walls, offering both confinement and, perhaps, the chance to wake up and climb away. James F. Ingalls' pulsing lights are rarely soft focus; Bieito puts Williams' characters in a series of spotlights, as if forcing them to take responsibility, when they'd rather creep back into the shadows."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"... But for much of its 110 minutes, “Camino Real” treats us to the most determinedly lurid, nightmarish, hyper-sexualized version of the play. Williams’ image of humans as caged birds who are ferociously (and futiley) fighting for freedom now unspools in a police state (unnamed, though the American flag is the only one in sight). It’s a place where bureaucrats do whatever massive steel prison walls cannot, where race is always an issue, and where sex (straight or gay, given freely or for cash) is unequivocally linked to death. Bieito’s extreme efforts to shock could not be more calculated. And while we’ve pretty much seen it all by now, a scene played by Andre De Shields and Jonno Roberts, involving extended simulated bondage and sodomy, with a snuff film-style finale, does push the limits."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...The Goodman's Camino Real has plenty of both, often at the same time. There are humpings, beatings, shootings, stranglings, and the extraction of a human heart before our very eyes. At one point early on, we see a police officer sodomize a man while garroting him with a length of chain. The piece de resistance, though, has to be the scene in which a young woman convulses atop a Dumpster as her mother "restores her virginity" with needle and thread, all as the ghost of Baron de Charlus from Proust's In Search of Lost Time belts out "I Put a Spell on You.""
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Zac Thompson

Chicago Stage Review - Not Recommended

"...Camino Real is a stylized hallucination that is exciting (or appalling depending on how delicate your sensibilities are) to watch but with all of its sensational and sinister stimulations, it lacks cohesive depth and emotional authenticity. Tennessee Williams suggests, “We are all of us guinea pigs in the laboratory of God.” The Goodman Theatre’s Camino Real makes us feel as though we are all of us guinea pigs in the laboratory of shock theater. It is a wild ride with beautiful production values and some incredible performances, but ultimately the challenge to make a connection eclipses the spectacle."
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Venus Zarris

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Bieito’s mind-bending stage pictures are often thrilling, and he commands extraordinary commitment from a terrific ensemble that also includes such stalwarts as Mark L. Montgomery, Marilyn Dodds Frank and Jacqueline Williams. The overall impression is not unlike a Trap Door Theatre production with its budget increased a hundredfold."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...Much of the show’s concentrated power derives from Rebecca Ringst’s creative sets, which evoke both prison and garish entertainment strip. The Camino Real is a perverse place and one senses its decadence here. If only the director had resisted adolescent shock value, and left more to adult imagination."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Somewhat Recommended

"...It would have been nice to attend a revival of Camino Real directed by Goodman artistic director Robert Falls. I suspect Falls would display a respect for Williams’ original that Bieito sacrifices for his own bizarre take on the show. Unquestionably, this is a demanding project, technically, thematically, and maybe spiritually. It invites, even requires, interpretive risk taking. Goodman earns the highest props for going out on an artistic and commercial limb to present the show. But for all of Bieito’s directorial flamboyance, I would have much preferred a production that came closer to Williams’s highly personal vision. Who knows when we will have another chance to assess just how good, or defective, a play Williams wrote?"
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Dan Zeff

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"... I’m not sure who the audience is for this provocative work? Williams’ purists may be offended; lovers of expressionist and experimental theatre will rejoice; but storytelling lovers may be lost. I think serious theatre patrons and young theatre artists need to see this play to experience the power, innovation, and craft of a fearless director. It is rare to witness actors have more fun doing the work than many audience members had see it."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...Superb Chicago actors reconfirm their brilliance: Barbara Robertson’s opportunistic hooker, Marilyn Dodds Frank’s gauzy Marguerite Gauthier, Andre De Shields’ elegant Baron de Charlus, Mark L. Montgomery’s haunted Lord Byron, Jacqueline Williams’ cantina chanteuse, David Darlow’s epicene Casanova, and Carolyn Ann Hoerdemann’s gypsy with a horse laugh much like her author’s. Plus this “Camino Real” is rich with songs, ballads and choruses that exploit the nostalgia for viejo Mexico at its mariachi-bubbling best."

Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Recommended

"...Audiences reactions to CAMINO REAL are extreme. People are walking out nightly. It's bawdy! There is sex, rape, orgies, crotch sniffing. It’s vaudeville meets performing arts. Some things mean nothing. Some things mean everything. It’s definitely a trip! As Lord Byron says, “Make voyages, there is nothing else.” I encourage you to journey down to the Goodman and see what all the noise is about."
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"... This is a wild and energy filled production, one that each actor must enjoy doing or it would never work for them. In fact, I truly think they may have enjoyed doing it more that many audience members enjoyed watching them. Be prepared for some very tense scenes in this production and if you know the work, be prepared to see it from a different angle and perspective."
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Alan Bresloff

Huffington Post - Highly Recommended

"...I've heard rumbles about the numerous walkouts in Goodman's production -- which doesn't surprise me given the immensely abstract nature of the piece (not to mention an aggressive anal sex scene. Leave the kids at home people). My suggestion? Do your homework before visiting Camino Real, or simply come with an open mind."
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Bob Bullen

  Camino Real Photo Gallery

   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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