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The Niceties
The Niceties

The Niceties
Writers Theatre
Thru - Dec 8, 2019

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Writers Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...But to its credit, "The Niceties" absolutely make you think about the question of the American moment: Is this inter-generational/inter-racial/inter-ideological civil conflict, a rift so severe as to come with its own language, ideology and mockery, going to calm down once the country recovers from its current nightmare?"
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Chris Jones

Daily Herald- Highly Recommended

"...Playwright Eleanor Burgess certainly knows how to raise the dramatic stakes in "The Niceties." And it's impossible not to be caught up in her challenging 2018 drama, now receiving an intellectually and emotionally bruising Chicago-area premiere at Writers Theatre in Glencoe."
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Scott C. Morgan

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...With a lesser cast, The Niceties would be more debate than drama. The point-counterpoint structure works because director Marti Lyons gets such incendiary performances from Fisher and Bakari. Zoe gets the final blistering word with the humbled (or is she?) Janine, but Burgess makes it clear that she could wind up paying dearly for her own act of revolution."
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Catey Sullivan

Let's Play at ChicagoNow- Highly Recommended

"...The illumination of The Niceties is that it makes us reexamine not only how we interact with others but how we reacted in the past. Fisher and Bakari's performances are exceptional and desire theater-wise recognition for their amazing role as Janine and Zoe. Many in the audience will have different perspectives; however, if it's seen circumspectly with opened-eyes, you will walk away feeling equally sympathetic for both. As much as we try to define life and how it plays out for us, history has a way of defining our pathways even before birth. A silver spoon, wealth and privileges are provided from history, and using the words of Billy Holiday, "Them that's got, shall get, Them that's not, shall lose." Humanity at large needs to review how history neglected to help bless all children that's got his own."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...think she wants us to see that we must be open to others and their ideas. Being in control and forcing another to do or see what you see is not the way to go, as well. This is a powerful piece that will open up your eyes to some things that you are probably unaware of and will make you seek out some factual information about the history of our country and the situation involving racism that has not changed as much as the times."
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Alan Bresloff

WTTW- Recommended

"...In short, "The Niceties" is a brief and telling chronicle of the temper of our times and the seeming inability of people to disagree, air profound grievances and then work at finding compromises in order to generate change."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...There are so many levels in which to appreciate this thought-provoking, new play. The playwright’s balanced a face-to-face skirmish between Baby Boomers and Millennials with a highly-charged drama dealing with race, gender, human dignity, equality and the rights of others. This is an enthralling, sometimes humorous, production that audiences who like their entertainment spiced with controversy and seasoned with today’s headlines will absolutely enjoy. A well-deserved standing ovation to Marti Lyons, her brilliant cast and creative team and, especially, playwright Eleanor Burgess for collaborating on this Chicago must-see production."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews- Highly Recommended

"...Burgess’s script meshes seamlessly with the Writers production. Mary Beth Fisher has earned her place among Chicagoland’s leading actresses with her literate, sometimes droll performances. Her superb portrait of Bosco as both assured and vulnerable is a joy and no surprise. The revelation is Ayanna Bria Bakari as Zoe. Recently out of DePaul University, Bakari meets the challenge of selling a character who comes across as an unyielding militant making clearly unrealistic demands. But thanks to Bakari’s passion and commitment to conveying Zoe’s mindset, we can recognize the roots of the student’s discontent even if we grimace at her belligerence and intransigence."
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Dan Zeff Highly Recommended

"...The language of the dialog is razor sharp, and very much reflects the characters. The matter ends in a crisis as Act 1 closes, and you will be anxious to find out what happens in Act II, though I confess to being a disappointed in the lack of a dramatic resolution at the final curtain."
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Bill Esler

Chicago Theater and Arts- Recommended

"...Racism isn’t always a clear, conscious choice but activism and outrage regarding racism are choices in playwright Eleanor Burgess’ “The Niceties,” now at Writers Theatre."
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Jodie Jacobs

PicksInSix- Highly Recommended

"...The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates first used the phrase "Desperate times call for desperate measures," according to a quick internet search. The phrase bounced around in my head during "The Niceties," the smart, briskly paced two-hander by Eleanor Burgess and skillfully directed by Marti Lyons that opened Wednesday at Writers Theatre in Glencoe. Delving ever deeper online, I found the origin story wavers, and that alternate translations, like, "Desperate diseases call for desperate treatments," or, "Drastic times call for drastic measures," emerge."
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Ed Tracy