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  Hay Fever Reviews
Hay Fever
Hay Fever

Hay Fever
Circle Theatre
Thru - Aug 24, 2008

Show Information

Circle Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended

"...Director Jim Schneider completes a hat trick of period comedy in his staging for Circle Theatre, on the heels of last season's brilliant production of Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband" and 2005's "Design for Living," also by Coward. The dramatic stakes are decidedly lower in "Hay Fever," but the pleasures are no less palpable, thanks to a well-tuned ensemble, Circle's growing investment in sets and—especially—Suzanne Mann's lush costumes."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago Sun Times- Highly Recommended

"...Coward and Wilde demand an absolute mastery of precision timing, exquisite physical panache and an overall effortless sophistication. And Schneider’s blissfully expert cast of nine for “Hay Fever” (a large percentage of whom appeared in his earlier productions) meet the challenge completely, nailing every comic beat and gliding through each iconic pose with hilarious results."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Schneider's casting is nearly flawless. Bradford Lund and Erin Reitz are wonderful as a pair of battling siblings, still acting like toddlers well into their 20s. And Judith Hoppe seems truly insane as the self-absorbed matriarch at the center of the story. The set, by Bob Knuth, is gorgeous. The whole production unfolds with a grace and intelligence that releases all the latent power in Coward's deceptively glib work."

Jack Helbig

Windy City Times- Somewhat Recommended

"...Hay Fever can also be a fizzy delight—depending upon the chemistry of the assembled cast. Circle Theatre's gorgeously designed production under Jim Schneider's assured direction is a strong argument in favor of Coward's flippant comedy. But it's a couple of notches away from being perfect."
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Scott C. Morgan

Chicago Free Press- Somewhat Recommended

"...As for the play itself, well, it’s amusing, yes. But, written in the mid-1920s, it’s also one of Coward’s earliest and not quite as clever as his more mature later works such as “Private Lives” and “Blithe Spirit.” Though it’s always a treat to eavesdrop on the scintillating repartee Coward pens for his characters, the end result in this case is only intermittently funny."
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Web Behrens

Gay Chicago Magazine- Somewhat Recommended

"...Boasting an MFA in Directing from the University of Houston, wherein he had the enviable opportunity of studying under Edward Albee, director Jim Schneider has enjoyed some success directing Coward at Circle in the past. His production of “Design for Living” was named by one critic as one of the ten best productions of 2005. While his cast hit most of the correct notes and only stumble on a phrase or two, they still can’t pull this one into the realm of that kind of success."

Emily Lee

EpochTimes- Recommended

"...while Director Schneider does the show broader than most productions, the smallness of the venue makes it a bit hard to be as physical as this farce might be.The production works well given its limitations with solid performances by a solid cast. Bob Knuth's set is pure magic considering this is a storefront theater with a limited budget and the costumes by Suzanne Mann are perfectly Coward."

Al Bresloff

Copley News Service- Highly Recommended

"...Director Jim Schneider has brilliantly orchestrated the production in the Noel Coward spirit of elegant verbal mayhem. Bob Knuth designed the effective 1920’s period upper class English interior as the show’s single set. Suzanne Mann’s costume design likewise captures the period look, especially in the ladies’ outfits, one for each of the three acts. John Horan designed the lighting and Peter J. Storms the sound."

Dan Zeff

Wednesday Journal- Highly Recommended

"...If your wallet is so bare this summer you have to pick and choose what shows you attend rather carefully, Noel Coward's Hay Fever at Circle Theatre is definitely a "Must See." It's been quite a while since I've heard an audience laugh so hard at a comedy. Circle's production is uproariously funny, fresh, and lively."

Doug Deuchler

Time Out Chicago- Recommended

"...Coward’s characters are never bloodless or brittle, and productions that lose sight of this fact risk robbing the plays of their vitality and warmth (a word too often withheld from descriptions of Coward’s work). Circle Theatre’s staging of Hay Fever neatly captures the Coward manner without seeming mannered, bringing the characters to full and vibrant life."
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Zac Thompson

ChicagoCritic- Highly Recommended

"...This show has side-splitting humor with perfect comedic timing by the entire cast—especially in the scenes with the room filled with players. The situations are crazy, the reactions (both physically and verbal) are well timed with many one-liners. The performances of this fantastic cast render “Hay Fever” as a major comedy triumph for Circle Theatre."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard- Highly Recommended

"...Set, lights and costumes are worthy of accolades. Scenic designer Bob Knuth has done a brilliant job on the spectacular vibrant set from the handpainted curtain that opens on the beautiful multilevel Bliss home to the peek at the garden just outside the door. While John Horan’s lighting design subtly creates a bright sunny day turning into quickly into an artificially lit long night for the frazzled boarders."

Ruth Smerling