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  The Heir Apparent at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

The Heir Apparent

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 East Grand Avenue Chicago

Staged by Tony Award-winning director John Rando, this cheeky romp is another hilarious retooling of a classic from acclaimed playwright David Ives, creator of Chicago Shakespeare's wildly popular The School for Lies and A Flea in Her Ear. Young Eraste has it all-good looks, a beautiful fiancee and the prospect of a sizable inheritance from an elderly uncle. There's just one snag: the uncle won't die and he has bequeathed his entire fortune to someone else. Whatever will the young man do? Hilarious rhyming couplets and contemporary slang abound as seventeenth-century bawdiness is catapulted into the twenty-first.

Thru - Jan 17, 2016

Price: $48-$88

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 312-595-5600

Running Time: 2hrs, 15mins; one intermission

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Seating Chart

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  The Heir Apparent Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Like his designers, Ives is enough of a craftsman and wordsmith to pull most of this off — and I very much enjoyed Fisher's work, who shares the comic weight of the show with the jovial Saunders as the archetypical servant of whatever master happens to be in the play. Nate Burger and Emily Peterson are the aptly dull lovers, while Linda Kimbrough gets in some licks, as does the grumbly Patrick Kerr, who spends the entire show on his knees, being as he is playing the mini-lawyer with the maxi-attitude."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Were the production, now at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, a 20-minute romp showcasing the impressive physical and verbal comedy skills of its gifted and tireless cast of six, the whole thing might be amusing. But as a two-hour escapade that makes it points early on, it proves more exhausting than entertaining."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...The Heir Apparent is mostly fun and mostly entertainingly performed in the current Chicago Shakespeare Theater production directed by John Rando. But its virtues come across as spotty, forced, and familiar-particularly disappointing given Ives's history of witty resourcefulness in devising versions of Corneille (The Liar) and Moliere (The Misanthrope, presented as The School for Lies)."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Surprisingly, Ives' gobs of gastrointestinal gags in no way obstruct director John Rando's live-action cartoon stunt show-did I mention the trio of Miss Piggy look-alikes and a character wearing Lord Farquaad dwarf prosthetics? Kevin Depinet's ornate set invites defilement ( Freudians, take note ). Paxton Whitehead's geriatric lothario is a veritable symphony of rheumy-phlegmy-necrotic-dyspeptic wheezes. Chicago Shakespeare Theatre ( CST ) subscribers can sway to the iambic pentameter, snicker at the Shakespeare samples and smile like good sports when openly reviled across the fourth wall. Why not? It's not as if they can repeat any of these scatological sallies to their co-workers the next day. CST's holiday treat may appear sumptuous, but will likely leave you only empty and gassy in the morning."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...As the servants, the hard-working Cliff Saunders and Jessie Fisher get some funny Looney Tunes-style business selling various cover-ups, but their supposed love connection is far too flimsy to root for. There are a handful of isolated chuckles to be had, but on the whole The Heir Apparent is way too airy."
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Kris Vire

Stage and Cinema - Somewhat Recommended

"...We're left with slick and deft comic turns by a superb septet of flawlessly side-slitting jesters. No question, Rando's ensemble can sell Ives's shtick. They scream splendidly, which for this romp is the height, breadth and depth of the art of acting. But to see on this stage a stellar thespian like Paxton Whitehead is like discovering a diamond in a dumpster. How have the mighty (prat)fallen!"
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...This stock-character and situation piece, which is heavily inspired by commedia dell-arte, is almost entirely dependent on scatological humor, and strains too hard for a laugh a few times. But under the direction of the acclaimed John Rando (famous for the Broadway debut of Urinetown), the cast, and especially Paxton Whitehead as the old fart Geronte, polish The Heir Apparent until it glimmers for all its worth, with rewarding results."
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Jacob Davis

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...While Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier is known for its tributes to the great works of William Shakespeare, and their ability to transform the classics into a more modern day theatrical experience, they are also a cultural adventure place where the works of others can be transformed to something even better than the original. Does that sound a bit confusing? Well it should! This famed classical theater company is now presenting, on its main stage, a retooling of a classic David Ives farce, "The Heir Apparent", staged to perfection by Tony Award winning John Rando."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...To be fair, it's not easy to stage a script consisting entirely of rhyming couplets, which means that natural dialogue isn't possible and all the characters sound the same. Still, one wishes that director John Rando had found at least a moment or two of living, breathing drama within the "Christmas Carol"-like tale of an aging, ailing miser who ultimately (and implausibly) learns the error of his avaricious ways. But the needle here swings from cynicism to sentimentality, rarely pausing in the zone of feeling."

Hugh Iglarsh

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...Seasoned liberally with coarse vulgarity and scatological humor, and liberally peppered with modern day references and characterizations, David Ives’ latest adaptation is a lot of fun. It’s definitely not family theatre, but for adult audiences who enjoy their slapstick broad and unbridled, this show will provide a holiday treat. The play has its roots in the French classical theater, with a nod to commedia dell’arte; but it’s easily accessible for modern audiences who delight in Dr. Seuss-like rhymes and wordplay. The story offers a few surprises, but anyone familiar with Moliere’s comedies will predict most of what lies ahead. The beauty of John Rando’s production lies in some finely executed acting, an array of beautiful costumes and wig designs (by David Woolard and Melissa Veal) and Kevin Depinet’s chandeliered period setting, accented with rich color and minute detail. It’s the theatrical equivalent of a warm, fragrant Croque Monsieur, especially heavy on the ham and overflowing with fromage."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Recommended

"...The Chicago Shakespeare Theater production of “The Heir Apparent” will be a laugh feast for spectators who like their comedy fast, raunchy, and absurd. Viewers who have a lower tolerance for farcical frenzy and tumult will sometimes be in trouble, but there are enough genuinely comical moments to engage the funny bones of even those fiercely resistant to unashamed silliness on the stage."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Somewhat Recommended

"...Plenty of the audience rewards the hard-working cast with laughter. And I was definitely amused by elements of this romp. Unfortunately, I found many jokes tediously repetitive. Since THE HEIR APPARENT was apparent, I thought the show could have been tighter and shorter."
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Katy Walsh

Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...While The Heir Apparent offers no shortage of laughs, Ives could push the modern colloquialisms and references further than he does to generate even more humor. This obviously isn't a play designed to evoke gritty realism or deep introspection, so why not push the wordplay, absurdity, and winks to the audience as far as possible? This is a mere quibble, of course. This energetic production delights the audience with a welcome change from the typical holiday show fare."

Keith Glab

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   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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