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  Pomona Reviews

Steep Theatre
Thru - Sep 14, 2019

Show Information

Steep Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended

"...“Pomona,” a big hit in London and seen here for the first time in Chicago, is an exceptionally complex work with the kind of storytelling that will appeal to those who like escape rooms or role playing or thrillers. I lay in bed last night trying fully to figure it out."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Told in disordered shards, the story that unfolds toggles between dystopian horror and mundane exchanges, presenting a disturbing vision of a world where no one is involved but everyone is affected. The cast is spot-on, with especially effective work by Brandon Rivera as the disarmingly awkward security guard/dungeon master Charlie and Ashlyn Lozano as the gutsy sex worker Fay."
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Irene Hsiao

Windy City Times- Highly Recommended

"...McDowall's merciless descriptions of a dystopian universe border on Grand- Guignol horror at times ( if hospitals give you the creeps, be prepared to cover your ears ), but never do director Robin Witt and the Steep Theatre ensemble abandon us to the confusion generated by our author's calculated mosaic narration. ( Did I mention the talking seagull with a scatological agenda? ) However unsure of our footing we may be after stepping off his vertigo-inducing carousel ride, we are secure in our knowledge of where we went before arriving at our destination."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Joe Schermoly’s catacumbal set plunges the audience into Pomona’s twisted, brutal worldview, and Witt’s in-the-round staging echoes the script’s continual return to the notion of loops: cars on a ring road, shoppers at a mall, eternal cycles of violence and abuse. This is Steep and Witt’s second go-around with McDowall; the first was their hit 2015 production of Brilliant Adventures. His carefully crafted but daringly imaginative voice has found an ideal partner in Steep’s precise, emotionally resonant approach. It’s not unlike the thrilling sense of collaboration that forms the core of a good D&D campaign. Many shows could learn a lesson or two from its intense, exhilarating sense of play."
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Alex Huntsberger

Splash Magazine- Recommended

"...This unusual, deep/dark mystery cum science fiction piece is composed of fractured timelines, tricky provenance issues, tongue-in-cheek indelible images and unanswered questions. Major themes include deliberate failure to face reality, and the personal costs of this blind ignorance as well as the toll taken on the psyche by facing up to facts. Pomona is also a disquisition on the underbelly of urban crime in the context of violence, sexual fraud, and lack of privilege, power and/or authority. We are taken inside a world awash in subterfuge, where games are too real, and evil can emerge from behind an octopus mask. In such scenes as one where a character explains the meaning of an iconic movie’s ending while transporting a frantic sibling, we are made to speculate why it’s best not to open sealed boxes."
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Debra Davy

Chicago Theatre Review- Recommended

"...Robin Witt also directed "Brilliant Adventures," another science fiction-themed play, by Alistair McDowall, at Steep Theatre. She once again does a skillful job of guiding and shaping this surrealistic production. This is a world of shadows and violence, accented by tiny sparks of light and a giant, bloodstained door. It's as if a comic book has come to life, blending the real world with an imaginary universe. Before the audience can become too comfy in the playwright's flights of fantasy, Ms. Witt allows the realism to come crashing down. This is an often brutal, frequently gory, sometimes humorous and very adult play that illustrates, as Zeppo says, "Everything bad is real.""
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Colin Douglas Highly Recommended

"...Pomona at Steep Theatre is among the most exhilarating productions I have seen this year. Directed by Robin Witt, who selected this imaginative script by British playwright Alistair McDowall, the play follows a familiar theme in British crime dramas: the disappearance of working girls, spirited away in this case from house of prostitution."
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Bill Esler

Third Coast Review- Somewhat Recommended

"...Witt choreographs the whole adventure slickly and her cast carries it off well. Joe Schermoly's minimalist scenic design is functionally pulled together by Brandon Wardell's moody lighting and Aly Renee Amidei's costumes."
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Nancy Bishop

The Hawk Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

The production is saved, though, by its strong acting. Steep should be commended for its commitment to accent work and taking the time to do admirable jobs learning how to express the anger, concern, and villainy shown by each character. If the strong acting and the unique story structure of this show sounds appealing enough, then Pomona may be worth the price of admission. Otherwise, you may want to think twice.
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Ryan Moore

Picture This Post- Somewhat Recommended

"...It's likely that Dungeons and Dragons aficionados will feel like this play is equivalent of dying and going to heaven-or the next level of fantasy, if that feels better. If you are a fantasy game fan this is your show."
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Amy Munice