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  The Man Who Was Thursday Reviews
The Man Who Was Thursday
Lifeline Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended

"...Chaos is dull. That which goes right is poetry," declares Gabriel Syme, the protagonist in G.K. Chesterton's 1908 metaphysical/satirical novel, "The Man Who Was Thursday." But in Bilal Dardai's nimble adaptation, now onstage at Lifeline Theatre under Jess Hutchinson's direction, it's the chaos and mind-tricks that pull us in."
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Kerry Reid



Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...The two things that carry the piece are Eric Watkins's lighting design and Lizzie Bracken's sets. My favorite moments were the wordless pantomimes as the cast changed scenes, lit by noirish spotlights or candlelight that made them barely visible as they skulked about. The set, full of doors, and featuring a wrought-iron catwalk and staircases-used brilliantly to visually evoke how characters operate on different levels-does a lot more to tell Chesterton's story than his many, many words do. The gist: evil can lurk in plain sight while men's pride and need to be right will blind them to what's in front of their faces."
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Dmitry Samarov



Windy City Times- Highly Recommended

"...Director Jess Hutchinson has assembled a cast adept at scaling staircases and scrambling through corridors without inflicting the slightest disturbance to wigs, false beards, prosthetic noses or narrative focus, so that while we may be mystified by the progress of our covert agents, at no time are we ever confused. Bilal Dardai's adaptation may acknowledge Chesterton's theological and political views for the benefit of playgoers obsessed with scholarly labels, but those choosing to ignore the latter will find it easy to relax and enjoy an espionage yarn as itmight appear if staged by Mel Brooks."
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Mary Shen Barnidge



Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...In just a little over two hours, Lifeline's group portrait of bumbling terrorists seems refreshingly innocent, compared to our present breed of bastards. Dardai's sprightly dramatization richly exploits Chesterton's mercurial nonsense and the chase never slackens."
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Lawrence Bommer



Splash Magazine- Highly Recommended

"...The performance was a delightfully witty amalgam of highly skilled actors, many of whom played multiple parts; French-farce enabling scenery; exceptionally witty dialogue expressed in numerous accents; hilarious physical comedy including fighting; delightfully spot-on lighting, and wonderfully evocative music. This reviewer has no desire to be a “spoiler”, but the essence of the iconic story, astutely adapted for the stage, is as follows: The Man Who Was Thursday is a politically sensitive, philosophically driven, poetically written detective story, filled with numerous twists and turns, disguised characters and a lot of mystery. The central query: “Who and what is Sunday?” is a conundrum that ultimately expands until it encompasses the very nature of creation, of God, of reality."
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Debra Davy



Around The Town Chicago- Recommended

"...Directed by Jess Hutchinson, this adaptation by Bilal Dardai moves swiftly, so despite being over 2 hours in length ( with one intermission), there is no down time or even a remote chance of becoming bored. The only exception is that the actors use English accents, thus, one must pay close attention or you could fall out of synch with the story line/mysteries."
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Frank Meccia



NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...But this production has a certain reverence, or maybe just a lack of critical engagement, underneath the whimsical touches. These include Gallic accents so (intentionally) outrageous it’s surprising the French consulate doesn’t dynamite the place, and a casting strategy that isn’t so much gender-playful as gender-baffling. Of the seven apparent anarchists in the central committee, whose code names are the days of the week (hence the title), one is a woman playing a woman, two are women apparently playing men, and a fourth is a woman playing a woman playing a man."
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Hugh Iglarsh



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...Lifeline Theatre has a bonafide hit playing in Rogers Park. Wickedly written by Bilal Dardai, which he faithfully adapted from G.K. Chesterton’s Edwardian metaphysical thriller, and directed with eye-popping creativity and inspired intellect by Jess Hutchinson, this production is a delectable diversion for our times. Despite its turn-of-the-century setting, it’s a story that seems to reflect our present-day political scene. Theatergoers looking for sheer stimulating entertainment will not find a finer production playing in Chicago."
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Colin Douglas



Buzznews.net- Recommended

"...The show rides entertainingly on the exceptional performances of the cast overall, especially Eduardo Xavier Curley-Camillo, who as Gabriel Syme, drives much of the show on his suave and exceptional delivery in a manicured British accent. It's a fun show we can recommend for an entertaining afternoon or evening. "
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Bill Esler



The Fourth Walsh- Recommended

"...I thoroughly enjoyed THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY. Although I was impressed with the acting, directing and design work, I felt it could have been easily tightened. Some of the characters get long-winded in the debate over rules verses chaos. Trimming their speeches would have made the show much more nimble and engaging."
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Katy Walsh



Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...Director Jess Hutchinson retains tight control over all of the strings in this intentionally over the top piece, wringing some excellent performances out of her ensemble, many of whom play multiple roles, and keeping the pace quick and alive. Christopher Kriz provides original music and excellent sound design, and Eric Watkins has great fun lighting Lizzie Bracken’s two-story set. (One long “underground” scene is lit entirely by a tiny flame like a cigarette lighter. In another scene, in sharp contrast, the false proscenium lights up like the French flag.)"
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Karen Topham



Rescripted- Highly Recommended

"...The Man Who Was Thursday is adapted from a novel originally published in 1908, but I went into it knowing nothing and I cannot recommend this approach enough. Currently running at Lifeline Theatre, The Man Who was Thursday is a lovely byzantine maze of subterfuge, false identities, and plot twists, and the less you know going in, the more fun you’ll have."
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Aaron Lockman