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  Small Mouth Sounds Reviews
Small Mouth Sounds
Small Mouth Sounds

Small Mouth Sounds
A Red Orchid Theatre
Thru - Dec 9, 2018

Show Information


A Red Orchid Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Somewhat Recommended

"...The issue is not the acting: I appreciated the deep dives by the likes of Heather Chrisler, Lawrence Grimm, Levi Holloway, Cynthia Hines and Jennifer Engstorm. But in this case, the small space turns out to be unforgiving in terms of anything pre-packaged or forced. And nothing happens quickly, thus you feel ahead of the action and when everyone finally opens their mouths at the end of the show, it mostly is a relief."
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Chris Jones



Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...With crisp, surefooted direction from Shade Murray—100 minutes go by in a heartbeat—what this show lays bare isn't just the folly of faux enlightenment as a consumer good. Compassionately and with profound insight, it investigates the new distances that people feel between one another now in an impersonal, technologically obsessed world. For those who have grown accustomed to an extraordinary standard of work from A Red Orchid, this play's excellence is no surprise. The acting is exemplary from top to bottom, with particularly memorable performances from Chrisler and from Levi Holloway as the luckless Ned."
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Max Maller



Theatre By Numbers- Highly Recommended

"...Director Shade Murray ups the ante by staging moment of profound connection simultaneously with moments of humor and loneliness. The rhythm of this piece never slogs because he allows each actor to live in their current state without shortchanging what might be happening in another cabin on the opposite side of the stage. He encourages moments of humor and humanity that might be missed by a more impatient artist."
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Sarah Bowden



Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...In this production, finely directed by Shade Murray, we see six people invited or signed up for a retreat where they can learn more about their identity. I know! This sounds crazy. After all, we all know who we are. Or do we? In this clever play written by Bess Wohl, the six "urbanites" are bringing their lives to the woods so that they can learn more about themselves, their lives, their desires, their fears etc. Due to the size of the theatre, the set (Kurtis Boetcher) is quite limited. The walls of the stage area are wood planks ( cabin-like) so when they are IN the lodge/cabin, the chairs are in front of a wooden wall. When they are out of the building, that same wall represents the outside of the building as they are camping out."
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Alan Bresloff



NewCity Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...I don’t think that plays can solve all the problems of the world, as much as I wish that they could. But work like “Small Mouth Sounds” offers us empathy and renewal; faith and community and the desire to protect them; a deeper awareness of the problems of the world, and perhaps some of the tools to address them."
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(Erin Shea Brady



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...Red Orchid Theatre’s 26th season opens with this Chicago premiere of Bess Wohl’s brilliant, thought-provoking new play. The drama, which is liberally laced with many moments of comedy, is presented with intelligence, grace and dignity, thanks to the fine direction of Shade Murray. Unlike most plays, the production turns into a uniquely individual experience for each audience member. Within the self-reflective, meditation that the six characters experience, each theatergoer will see themselves. And as each character completes his journey the audience accompanies him. The retreat, we’re told, is “a vacation from your habits. You will never go back to who you were.” Neither will we, and clothing is optional."
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Colin Douglas



Third Coast Review- Recommended

"...Murray's direction of his capable cast maintains appropriate mood and pacing from lively to peaceful and back again. The retreat setting is designed by Kurtis Boetcher, with lighting by Heather Gilbert and atmospheric sound and original music by Jeffrey Levin."
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Nancy Bishop



Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...The horror of the play comes from her and her students' slow realization that it is true. Watching Small Mouth Sounds is itself a kind of meditative experience. An audience that is prepared to observe without judgement could learn a lot more about these people and appreciate them more than would have seemed possible."
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Jacob Davis



Rescripted- Highly Recommended

"...Under Murray’s direction the show is beautifully paced and loaded with funny, surprising and tender moments. He also gives us ample time to watch these characters just be. A lot of fascinating stuff happens when one character is alone on stage. The ensemble has done a phenomenal job of world-building. There is Alicia (Heather Chrisler) with her oversized Zabar’s cooler full of forbidden snack food. There is Rodney (Travis A. Knight) with his perfectly instagramable yoga dude persona. There is Joan (Jennifer Engstrom) with a defiant venti coffee. And there is Ned (Levi Holloway) who just really needs to borrow a pen. But the most moving storyline is a series of exchanges between Judy (Cynthia Hines) and Jan (Lawrence Grimm) that remind us how empathy becomes action, through small, caring gestures."
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Hallie Palladino