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  The Herd at Steppenwolf Theatre

The Herd

Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 N. Halsted Chicago

It's Andy's 21st birthday and preparations for the party are under way. But Andy and his caregiver are running late. As his family gathers, two unexpected guests appear, straining the delicate family dynamic. With a deft comic touch, The Herd introduces us to a suburban English family who have had to re-organize themselves around the extraordinary needs of one of their own, bringing to light the challenges of reconciliation, the power of shared memories and the irresistible pull of family.

Thru - Jun 14, 2015

Price: $20-$82

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 312-335-1650

Running Time: 1hr, 40mins

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  The Herd Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...This is Kinnear's first play. He is well-known in the U.K. as an actor and comes from a famous theatrical family (his father was the late British movie actor Roy Kinnear). The younger Kinnear draws from experience, I'm sure, when he fills the home on stage with erudite conversation and personages overly inclined toward self-dramatization. And he also knows whereof he writes when he conjures the stresses of a family wherein one member is very severely disabled. Kinnear has an adult sister with a mental age of less than a year; in his play there is a young man, Andy, in that same state of affairs. Events take place on his 21st birthday."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Despite its title, "The Herd," the first play by veteran British actor Rory Kinnear, now receiving a vividly acted U.S. debut by Steppenwolf Theatre, has nothing to do with livestock. It is about a gathering of a different sort of beasts -the two-legged variety - mammals who live, feed and migrate together in that well-explored entity known as the family. And while they might lack the tough hooves of some four-legged creatures, they easily can make up for this with a verbal and emotional rigor that has its own particular kick."
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Hedy Weiss

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Kinnear doesn't provide us a tidy resolution to send us home comforted. The final moments of this troubled family's day could signal a number of changes-or none. When the prayer offered is only the single word "Please," it's up to each of us to finish the sentence, "Please-what?""
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...As performed by an impeccable ensemble under Frank Galati’s direction, the piece is a warm but unstinting look at the burdens and rewards of caring for a loved one with special needs—like a less dark but no less doleful Joe Egg. I look forward to hearing more from Kinnear."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Ah, family values. Mom, Dad, the kids. The dysfunction, the divorce, the alienation, the animosity. All the things that make a house a home are piled into “The Herd,” a smashing first play by British writer Rory Kinnear now fuming through its U.S. premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...The perils of parenting are center stage in Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s truth-teller. British playwright Rory Kinnear’s strangely named The Herd (a title that could indict the characters or the audience) exposes a curse as searing as any the House of Atreus endured. It measures a suburban London family beyond all clichés about what love can fix. At the play’s core lies a cunning contradiction: How much can you love a damaged child before wanting him to die–for his good as much as yours?"
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine - Highly Recommended

"..."The Herd" may have an ambiguous title, but don't let that fool you. It is a stunning work of theatre that truly stands out as one of the finest productions Steppenwolf has done in many years. This is a show that must been seen firsthand to fully grasp how powerful, touching, thought-provoking, and extraordinary this captivating play really is. Outside of some questionable dialect work, I'd venture to say this play, and indeed this excellent production of it, is about as close as you can get to being absolutely perfect. It will not only penetrate your soul, but leave you thinking long after you've left the theatre."
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Justin LeClaire

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Director Frank Galati keeps all the actors dancing around each other so they'll collide at just the right times. The blocking further illuminates the characters' relationships, such as in one scene which has Ian awkwardly sitting at a remove from a circle and finding excuses to stay as far away from Patricia as possible. What works about this play is that it's a family drama that does not require any bizarre circumstance or individual quirks; everything follows logically from a common situation which Kinnear himself knows firsthand. While Steppenwolf is experienced in family dramas that have enough rage and insults to keep you mesmerized, this is one in which all the characters are sympathetic enough to disappoint you and then redeem themselves. If you dislike family dramas for depicting emotionally stunted people, you will find The Herd a pleasant surprise."
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Jacob Davis

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...The Herd gets off to a slow start but has plenty of gas for the long drive toward its unsettling conclusion. It is a promising, self-assured work that pairs easily with Steppenwolf’s aesthetic and predilection for stories of families. With its mix of easy confidence and mature restraint, The Herd deftly navigates the passage between the fits of youth and the endurance of age. In doing so it achieves the sanctified purpose of art: to show us what it means to be human."

Kevin Greene

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...I love going to Steppenwolf Theatre for an afternoon opening. In particular when the sun is shining and one doesn’t have to trod through snow and slush. Such was this week-end when Rory Kinnear’s “The Herd” had its U.S. Premiere in the downstairs theater. What makes this production even more special is the ensemble members associated with the production- what a line-up! First of all, the director is Frank Galati and one can always see his intensity and heart in a play that he is involved with. Look at the program: Molly Regan, Francis Guinan, Lois Smith and John Mahoney. The non-ensemble members are Cliff Chamberlain and Audrey Francis, making for a sharp cast that will keep you glued to the action from start to finish."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Long time ensemble member and multi-Jeff Award-winner Frank Galati has directed this wonderful play with truthfulness and loving compassion. Walt Spangler’s gorgeous, detailed set creates multiple levels of playing areas for Galati’s cast. Kinnear hasn’t written a play about the perfect family—and does such a thing even exist outside of 1950’s sitcom comedies? But he creates a group of people who, in Mr. Galati’s capable hands, are realistic, continually challenged by all that life continues to throw at them and, in the end, come together as a loving, caring unit. In this terrific production, it’s family first."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...Kinnear has made a distinguished entry into the playwriting field with “The Herd.” On the surface, it may seem like a very English play with limited appeal on this side of the Atlantic. But the characters and the situations are universal. Steppenwolf has shown a facility for this kind of small scale but large themed English drama numerous times in the past. We listen as eavesdroppers rather than watching as an audience while events unfold on the stage. The result is a major reason we go to the theater."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...This HERD is top notch. The superb ensemble bring the comedy and the drama. In Kinnear’s story, each character gets opportunities to peel back layers and reveal breadth and depth. Chamberlain recites a sweet poem. Guinan sings a playful song. Francis’ reaction to both is tender and touching. The show has a beauty in its darkness like looking at something that is black and realizing it’s a deep, rich purple. I loved Kinnear’s loud, colorful and tumultuous play. And I found myself transfixed from the initial disturbing phone call to the final haunting phone call. Wow! Well done, Steppenwolf!"
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Katy Walsh

  The Herd Photo Gallery

   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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