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  The Adult in the Room Reviews
The Adult in the Room
The Adult in the Room

The Adult in the Room
Victory Gardens Theater - Biograph
Thru - Feb 15, 2020

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Show Information


Victory Gardens Theater - Biograph

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Somewhat Recommended

"...The problematic part of the show - fixable, I think - is the lack of tension. As things stand now, the interview basically just stops when Pelosi runs out of time, which is not enough. McMahon, who is a lively and entertaining writer, sets up Pelosi as the titular rationalist, holding off Trump with one hand and, more gently but still firmly, damping down the Congressional Progressive Caucus, especially "The Squad," with the other. Her mantra in the show is "organize don't agonize," which is a succinct theme of which I am sure Madam Speaker would approve."
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Chris Jones



Chicago Sun Times- Not Recommended

"..."The Adult in the Room" claims to tell Pelosi's story but instead makes every indication that the only way a male author can stomach a woman in power is to portray her as a closet hysteric with a binge-eating problem. Tragically this is perhaps the most timely and accurate thing about it."
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Irene Hsiao



Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...Pelosi describes herself as "the iron fist in the velvet glove," but her fist doesn't show itself until the final 15 minutes, when the plot shifts to the impeachment process. Perhaps the Speaker's story could be better told with a larger cast-hints at her relationship to "The Squad" (Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib) could be worth exploring, as could more backroom interaction with her favorite sparring partner, the president."
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Marissa Oberlander



Time Out Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...With her emphasis on party cohesion and well-honed knack for stamping out drama, Pelosi is presented here as dead set against impeaching Donald Trump-until a last-minute twist spins her around with such force that it's shocking she doesn't topple over. The show presents this reversal as a moment of pure principle, ignoring the kind of clear-eyed realpolitik it's been praising her for throughout. One gets the feeling that The Adult in the Room was written and ready to go with an anti-impeachment message until, at the 11th hour, everything changed. But that's Nancy Pelosi for you: The harder you try to hold her in place, the likelier she is to slip through your grasp."
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Alex Huntsberger



Around The Town Chicago- Recommended

"..."Don't agonize; organize!" Such is the mantra of Nancy Pelosi, the first female (and current) Speaker of the House of Representatives. Taken from the headlines of today's newspapers and social media, this character sketch plays it completely straight regarding her life story, from her Catholic upbringing to her role as a wife and mother, and through her political struggles that gained her national prominence as a Congresswoman from San Francisco and a vital leader of the Democratic Party."
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Julia W. Rath



Chicago Theatre Review- Recommended

"...Co-directed by Heather Arnson and Conor Bagley, this one-act is an informative, inspiring look at the woman who Paul Kane called “the most powerful House Speaker in twenty-five years.” The strong, assured performance delivered by Orlagh Cassidy is as if Nancy Pelosi was there in front of us. As she puts it, in our current political climate, with Trump’s careless words and inappropriate actions that are below the dignity of the presidency, she has had to be the adult in the room…because someone has to be."
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Colin Douglas



The Fourth Walsh- Highly Recommended

"...Under the masterful direction of Heather Arnson and Conor Bagley, Cassidy is THE adult in the room. And she's rocking it! As Nancy, she is poised with hands and legs clasped together. Her words and smile controlled and reserved. She then moves effortlessly into Trump. Legs wide open. Arms dangling. Speech guttural and nonsensical. Cassidy impressively morphs into a variety of personas pivotal to her story."
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Katy Walsh



Third Coast Review- Recommended

"...Politics. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. This article is a review of The Adult in the Room, a one-woman show about U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that has begun a two-week run at the Victory Gardens Theater (aka the Biograph) in Lincoln Park. The play focuses on Pelosi's early life in a Maryland political family, her marriage and move to California, and her career in Congress as she moved through the Democratic ranks to serve as minority leader and Speaker of the House."
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Bob Benenson



Chicago On Stage- Recommended

"...This is a play in which the present moment is very nearly the one we are actually experiencing: the impeachment trial. (Actually, it is the eve of the moment in November when she opened the proceedings.) This immediacy underscores the urgent issues that lie behind the woman on stage: though the House's role in the trial is at an end, this is not and never has been a matter that should be trivialized. McMahon's play provides access to the major player in all of this who is not named Trump and whose life, after all, is not anywhere near as well known. His fans would hate this show, but they will never bring themselves anywhere near it. For the left, though, there is something invigorating about getting to know Pelosi in this way. She's a fascinating woman-of course! she is the first female Speaker!-whose down to earth personality is a welcome relief from the overblown rhetoric we usually see from DC, and Cassidy makes you understand her as much more than the political role that she plays."
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Karen Topham



PicksInSix- Recommended

"...The message in Pelosi's story is clear. No matter what side of the aisle you are on, the Speaker's "iron fist in a velvet glove" approach has changed the course of political history for her party, the nation and for all women, particularly the women in her party, challenging them to pick up the mantle of someone who has seen and heard it all. Even in the moment when technology seemingly lets her down, Pelosi takes it in stride, quietly patient, planning what comes next, and then taking a breath and picking up where she left off."
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Ed Tracy



Picture This Post- Somewhat Recommended

"...THE ADULT IN THE ROOM never strays from its format of the Instagram Q&A session. For a show about a woman who seldom strays from her own disciplined format, the packaging is both appropriate and pleasant. However, in this viewer's opinion, higher stakes might have made for a more dramatic play. No feminist trailblazer who has accomplished as much as Nancy Pelosi does it without juice in her veins and fire in her belly. There's got to be messiness behind that well-kept façade. But we don't see much in THE ADULT IN THE ROOM. Even when she stuffs her mouth with See's Candies, Pelosi's love of chocolate is so well known that the moment seems more expected rather than revelatory."
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Susan Lieberman