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  The Playboy of the Western World at Raven Theatre

The Playboy of the Western World

Raven Theatre
6157 N. Clark St Chicago

What happens when a handsome young stranger swaggers into a small pub in rural Ireland, telling grand tales and boasting of dark deeds? The townsmen praise his bravado and the ladies vie to win his affection! But what is his real story? This real life riot-inducing play survived a mob rush of the stage in its original production and later found itself called a comedic masterpiece with fans including Sartre, de Beauvoir and Artaud.

Thru - Apr 5, 2014

Price: $22-$45

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 773-338-2177

Running Time: 2hrs, 10mins; one intermission

Nearby Restaurants

  The Playboy of the Western World Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Raven Theatre, the spacious, welcoming Edgewater "storefront" that continually mounts some of the more engaging revivals of American classics around, clearly has a bit of the Irish in its soul, too. Its production of "Playboy" is masterful on every level - a rip-roaring rendering of a play that can shift moods in the blink of an eye as it moves from comedy to farce to tragedy, with plenty of physical action driving it forward as well. And director Michael Menendian and his superb cast not only embrace the play's great and crazy emotional swings. But they keep the story moving like the wind while sharply probing such essential themes as fathers and sons, men and women, narcissism and self-doubt, religion and passion, violence and nurturing."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...You have to give the actors at the Raven Theatre some credit. Doing a credible Irish accent is not easy, and J.M. Synge's lines wouldn't sound nearly as good in flat old Chicagolese. Unfortunately, most of them sacrifice subtlety and humor for sounding more Oi-rish. The only tell that this is a comedy is the silent gags."
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Aimee Levitt

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...This is especially true when the turned worm is portrayed by the charming and athletic Sam Hubbard, whose slapstick agility-showcased in a full-stage brawl involving several strong ropes and a likewise sturdy table-commands our attention every moment. He is perfectly matched by Jen Short ( whom playgoers will remember from the recent Road to Bountiful ), as the innkeeper's smitten daughter. Contributing additional exemplary ensemble support are Sarah Hayes as a slyly pragmatic widow, Graham Emmons as a born-to-be-rejected suitor, Lawrence Garner as the intractable patriarch no less handy with a bludgeon than his desperate offspring, and a cast whose infectious enthusiasm renders this Raven Theatre production a welcome harbinger of springtime's promise."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...The romantic banter and slickly choreographed slapstick that ensues still hold up more than a century after J.M Synge penned the work, though the storyline gets a bit bogged down in confusing tangents and that thick Irish brogue. Character and chemistry drive the show and in this production the cast is boiling over with both. Hubbard grows to embody the mythical proportions his new fans assign him. Graham Emmons, as Pegeen’s withering scaredy-cat of a fiancé, brings a finely-tuned and highly entertaining physicality to what could be an overlooked role. Fellow townspeople fill out the tapestry of the community, adding color and gleeful depth—especially when they’re sharing a pint or a swig. But along with a thoughtfully-crafted set by Andrei Onegin, what the actors and their surroundings ultimately create is a rich, multi-dimensional energy that, when it works, can be downright infectious."
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Gwen Purdom

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...This flint-and-stone pair are surrounded here by several winning portraits of characters caught in the storm stirred up by Christy’s dubious miscreant. First and most colorful among these is Lawrence Garner as the young man’s dazed but still curmudgeonly dad. One look at the hard-headed old block and you can see how this chip, the almost-killer Christy, might be a hell-raiser in the making."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...The Playboy of The Western World is terrific classical Irish theatre from an important playwright marvelously filled with loads of heart and skill. This Raven theatre production is one of the best plays produced in Chicago this season..Every actor in town needs to see this marvelous show to learn who to project and articulate while sporting an authentic accent; how to land comedy and to bravely perform stage combat. I believe doing Irish plays takes many of the same skill sets as does doing Shakespeare. These players sure channeled the rural folks from County Mayo in 1900. Take the trip back with Raven's is a rare theatrical treat."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...Director Michael Menedian has chosen to let this script shine in a faithful and traditional rendering. It is fast paced, yet elegiac. Andrei Onegin's clever sets bring the west coast of Ireland to Edgewater. Alaina Moore's costumes would be at home on the BBC period dramas I am so fond of. Leif Olson's original music evokes Dingle and Mayo without bashing you over the head with bagpipe and bodhran. The fight choreography by David Woolley is thrilling AND hysterical, as well as true, the kind of brawl these characters have every few weeks to settle the whisky."

Angela Allyn

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...The Raven Theatre revival of “Playboy” is so right in every detail that the spectator may not recognize how much the company has to achieve to make the show work linguistically and dramatically. This is as good an ensemble performance as I’ve seen in a long time and it would be delightful to keep this group together to explore other classic comedies--Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde, Moliere, the Restoration playwrights. Why not?"

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Recommended

"... THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD is ideally positioned for the holidays.  There is romance for St. Valentine’s Day.  There is drunken Irish tomfoolery for St. Patrick’s Day. Spending time in *this* Irish pub is a winsome respite from the Chicago winter. "

Katy Walsh

Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...Splendid work from these perfectly cast caricatures includes Matt Bartholomew's perpetually soused tavern owner, Lindsay Tornquist as a teasing tomgirl, and Lawrence Garner as an indestructible patriarch straight out of a childhood nightmare."

Lawrence Bommer

Dueling Critics - Recommended

"...The Playboy of the Western World, Raven Theatre. Director Michael Menendian pulls out all the stops in Raven's lively production of the Synge classic about a drifter lionized by a benighted Irish community because he killed his father-or did he? There's comedy and romance and then-as seems inevitable with Irish plays-an undertone of sadness. But it doesn't weigh down the production, invigorated as it is by David Woolley's vigorous fight direction."
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Kelly Kleiman

Irish American News - Highly Recommended

"...The play is full of hilarious scenes in which the playwright exposes the loveable duplicity of the Irish peasant. Michael Menendian, the co-artistic director, did a wonderful job in bringing a superb text to life. His use of space, choreography, and understanding of the Irish love of exaggeration come to the fore in each of the three acts. This play is a terrific tour de force of the fickleness of human nature. In the final act, Menendian's skill reaches a crescendo with a wildly funny/tragic display of knockabout comedy, and farce."
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Terrence Boyle

  The Playboy of the Western World 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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