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Sundown, Yellow Moon
Sundown, Yellow Moon

Sundown, Yellow Moon
Raven Theatre
Thru - Nov 17, 2019

Show Information

Raven Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Somewhat Recommended

"...This is a family of musicians and the play includes songs by The Bengsons; you wouldn't call it a full-blown musical, but the characters do sing on their front porch and so on. These moves into musical expression need to be organic, of course, but that isn't achieved here. Rather, it feels too much like the play is stopping now and the singing starting when both modes of expression should be of the same breath."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...The actors, particularly Will Casey as Tom, the loving (though sometimes truculent) father, all find individual moments where we connect with them. But they remain frustratingly disconnected from each other. Their tendency to talk at each other feels like a playwright's self-conscious interior monologue, particularly in the scenes with Ted and Josie. Still, we grow to like these people, even if we don't feel as if we've really learned a lot about them by the end."
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Kerry Reid

Stage and Cinema- Recommended

"...A mostly moving Chicago premiere at Raven Theatre Company, Sundown, Yellow Moon is an equally slow-paced, quietly observed family drama set in a small southern town and held together by unobtrusive ballads by The Bengsons. Not much happens here. But what little does manages to matter. A series of abortive encounters stands in for a lot more life."
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Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...As a reader of my reviews, you know that I always “look for the bright side of the show/production” and I have searched high and low for this in the Chicago Premiere of “Sundown, Yellow Moon” now on the stage at The Raven Theatre. The Raven is one of Chicago’s great neighborhood venues. Once a grocery store ( where I shopped as a kid), now two stages where over the years, we have seen some brilliant work. I guess, once in a while you pick a loser, and in my opinion, this is the one that could have been missed."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...Harris and Chidester are the most polished musicians in the cast, but we don't hear from them until the aftermath of the apex of the combined non-stories. Chidester is a fine musician but since she is playing a blocked composer her talent is necessarily hidden until the end. It is not a simple task, even in a city that drips talent from every gust of wind, to create an ensemble of actors capable of telling a story together with the barest of words who can also pick up a guitar and sing the threads that complete the tapestry."
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Aaron Hunt

Chicago Theatre Review- Somewhat Recommended

"...The biggest problem with Rachel Bonds' play is that it goes nowhere. Beyond our initial meeting of each character and the performance of a few homey songs, nothing really happens. The play crawls along, introducing each personality, dangling fragments of their pasts, and offering slivers of their problems and passions. Nothing is developed any further and the play ends almost the way it began. Unlike Ms. Bonds' more evolved "Five Mile Lake," given such a stunning production by Shattered Globe, Mr. Estle's fine direction of a talented cast can only accomplish so much. If a script doesn't offer enough story or character development for theatergoers, there's not a lot to hold the audience's interest."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Somewhat Recommended

"...This reviewer finds that while the character descriptions combine to offer some fine theatrical infrastructure, for as good as the performances are at Raven, directed by Cody Estle, there's just not enough interesting story to make this a compelling experience. The audience simply isn't given enough backstory on Ray or Joey to understand their individual states of malaise. And patrons leave the theatre really without knowing what's next for any of them. Finally, though billed as a play with music, with music by The Bengsons, self-described anthemic folk-punk music creators Abigail and Shaun Bengson, only the final song (of about four in the show) is especially memorable."
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Barry Reszel

Third Coast Review- Somewhat Recommended

"...Sundown, Yellow Moon by Rachel Bonds is a family story about twin sisters from the big city who visit their newly divorced father in his barely furnished cabin in the woods during a Tennessee summer. Musical interludes featuring music and lyrics by the Bengsons can't save this story from a lackluster script and unfortunate staging at Raven Theatre. Even the always imaginative director Cody Estle couldn't make me care very much about his characters."
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Nancy Bishop

Storefront Rebellion- Somewhat Recommended

"...Rachel Bonds's 2017 family drama, now in its Chicago premiere at Raven Theatre, contains not a single big bang. Hardly anyone even raises their voice in this soporific tale; even the promised songs, composed by husband-and-wife songwriters the Bengsons and performed by Raven's cast, feel like speed bumps on the way to something happening. Unfortunately, that's a destination we never actually reach."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On Stage- Recommended

"...It isn't easy to describe Rachel Bonds' enigmatically titled Sundown, Yellow Moon, which includes songs with words and lyrics by The Bengsens, and even now, two days after I saw it, I'm not quite clear on how to put all of the pieces together. I've tried to begin this review about eight times now, I have written pages of prose, but I never manage to quite capture what I am feeling. The play does not have a traditional plot, and nothing of real consequence happens in it, but there is something intriguing about it nonetheless. In sixteen scenes, Bonds takes us into the lives of a family at a crossroads both individually and as a unit, and creates characters who may not be as fully drawn as they might have been in some other play, but-at least as portrayed by the director, Raven Theatre's Cody Estle, and these strong actors-have an indefinable quality I don't often find in plays: when it was all over, I wished I could spend more time with them."
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Karen Topham

Picture This Post- Somewhat Recommended

"...Sundown, Yellow Moon is a play that leaves much unsaid. In this writer's opinion, the overall pace of the production felt quite slow and as a result the progress made by the characters felt minimal."
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Taryn Smith

Rescripted- Recommended

"...The script from Rachel Bonds is extremely character-driven; there is not much plot to be found. I have heard some criticism calling this show a bit meandering and slow - which I can't refute, exactly, except to say that slowness can soar to great heights when done with intention, and I found it absolutely sublime here. Director Cody Estle has managed to craft an evening of enthralling, intimate moments with attention and care, such that Sundown, Yellow Moon feels engrossing and urgent despite its quietness, and stillness."
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Aaron Lockman