Chicago Tribune - Recommended
"...Things could have easily slipped into hick caricature, but what director Gillian Kelly has accomplished is a feat of significant proportions. While the cast does indulge in some rip-roaring shouts during the emotional climax, overall they give performances of meaningful range, revealing moments of sly humor that offset the incredible failings of these characters."
Chicago Sun Times - Recommended
"...Working on Kurt Boetcher's cleverly proportioned set (a kitchen, porch and store all in a small space), director Gillian Kelly allows the talented actors to colorfully embody their characters without embracing Appalachian cliches. Too much screamed dialogue mars the play's final moments, but overall this is a play that continues to be thought-provoking and heartrending."
Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended
"...In this Artistic Home production the incredibly juicy roles of Shelby and the villainous Leena are disappointingly played, but under Gillian Kelly's direction, the ensemble's strong enough to make the tragedy tragic. And what a pleasure to see Gary Houston as the aging lion Benjamin."
Chicago Free Press - Somewhat Recommended
"...There are instances of great immediacy and intimacy in this Artistic Home production of “Unchanging Love,” but Romulus Linney’s pitting of good vs. greed ultimately makes for a melodramatic morality play."
Gay Chicago Magazine - Somewhat Recommended
"...In essence, the work never really manages to climb its way out of those first uncomfortable moments. Although McKnight turns in a nice performance as Judy Musgrove, an innocent girl destined to be destroyed in familiar Chekovian style, and Gary Houston is nearly atomic as her greed-ridden father-in-law, Linney’s heavy pen coupled with Kelly’s well-intentioned but deeply ignorant guidance has stripped Chekov’s story of any cohesive statement and, worse, all of his trademark dark humor."
Time Out Chicago - Recommended
"...Artistic Home, Chicago’s delivery system for underrated American classics, continues to best its own ensemble achievements with director Kelly’s charcoal portrait of tribal rural life. Stage vet Houston’s lived-in performance, preternatural in its realism, suggests an amiable man who may be chapped by his decades of survival, but whose unrealistic expectations for his clan are informed by his uniquely American good fortune. Meanwhile, soft, slow-eyed McKnight haunts as a naive kid oblivious to what she’s saying “I do” to. And her honeyed vocals linger like mountain smoke."
ChicagoCritic - Recommended
"...This is a compelling family saga where greed, cruelty and compassion clash with compassion and innocence. Gary Houston and Betsy Elizabeth Ann McKnight were terrific. They get help from Evelyn Kelly, Peter Fitzsimmons and Victor Doylida. Once again, The Artistic Home proves that a small Equity theatre company can land polished productions in a small venue. See this show!"
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Chicago Stage Standard - Not Recommended
"...Unchanging Love is Linney's Americanized treatment of a Chekhov tale involving the union of a wealthy Southern department store heir to a humble farmer's shy daughter. Perhaps I am too much of a sophisticated city boy to really appreciate Linney's vision of Appalachian romance and business dealings. But the hillbilly jamboree bored me out of my mind, and the inhospitable climate of the theatre joined to make this one of the biggest regrets I have had in attending a show this season."