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  The Vortex at The Greenhouse Theater Center

The Vortex

The Greenhouse Theater Center
2257 N Lincoln Avenue Chicago

Noel Coward’s The Vortex tells the story of Nicky Lancaster (Kaelan Strouse), a handsome, highly-strung, 24 year-old man of privilege returning home after a year in Paris to find his mother, the glamorous and celebrated middle aged-beauty of days past, Florence Lancaster (Bonnie Hilton), with a handsome boyfriend not much older than himself. Nicky has a secret to confess which will shatter Florence's illusionary world and force them both to confront the unpleasant truths about their lives.

Presented by Dead Writers Theatre Collective

Thru - Aug 26, 2012

Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 7:30pm
Saturdays: 7:30pm
Sundays: 2:30pm

Price: $20-$30

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-404-7336

The Greenhouse Theater Center Seating Charts

Nearby Restaurants

  The Vortex Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"... though "The Vortex" doesn't churn with the emotional heft intended, there are still points in its favor, including a well-appointed and flexible set by Edward Matthew Walter, and a particularly fine supporting turn from Teri Schnaubelt as Helen Saville, the voice of world-weary wisdom in this glittery-but-hollow world of human badinage."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...But here’s the real news: The revival of “The Vortex” now serving as the inaugural production of the wonderfully named Dead Writers Theatre Collective, is sensational. Under the impeccable direction of Jim Schneider (whose Circle Theatre productions of plays by Coward and Oscar Wilde have been uniformly exceptional), the show is supremely well-cast and acted. And every element of design (style is of the essence here) has a Broadway or opera house splendor that defies the dreary confines of the Greenhouse Theater Center."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...As sexually ambivalent, drug-addicted socialite Nicky Lancaster—a role originally portrayed by Coward himself—Strouse captures both the stylish boyishness and emotional complexity his neurotic, aristocratic character requires. Under Jim Schneider's direction, the play's first two acts come across as darkly witty comedy of manners. But the blistering, oedipally charged climax—in which Nicky confronts his vain, adulterous mother (the excellent Bonnie Hilton) with her narcissism and her parental failings—is riveting."
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Albert Williams

ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...It is said that great works of art become more relevant with time. That is certainly the case with great writing and great theater. ‘The Vortex’ is such a work. Noel Coward’s drama sky-rocketed the young actor/playwright to fame in 1924 and forever changed the politically correct nature of the art form."
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Michael Roberts

Stage and Cinema - Not Recommended

"...The entire cast is clearly somewhat talented, but it’s obvious that this isn’t any of their best work; they are all capable of playing these roles well, and yet, they all feel mechanical. There are moments where it seems like actors are waiting to speak their next line, or waiting for a line to cue them to move—much like that museum diorama. Director Jim Schneider doesn’t cultivate anything organic out of his cast. It feels dreadfully over-directed, as if we can hear him telling them when and where to move across the stage."
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Paul Kubicki

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...This smart comedy is well acted and the production values splendid. Kaelan Strouse’s Nicky and Bonnie Hilton’s Florence led the fine cast with their raw emotions and genuine honesty. This is an ambitious well crafted inaugural production. I look forward to their next production. This is a most entertaining comedy."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"... Perfectly mannered and slyly sinister, this rather lavish inaugural offering by Dead Writers Theatre Collective surrounds the defective mother and son with effective support, notably Terri Schnaubelt as Florence’s loyal confidante. But what carries the evening is the dysfunctional duo of Kaelan Strouse’s Nicky and Bonnie Hilton’s Florence. Strouse’s love-starved, temperamental aesthete and drug fiend is sad stuff, even or especially today. Recalling Patricia Routledge in “Keeping Up Appearances” in her elaborate denial, Hilton’s doggedly unfaithful wife is pathetic in her rampant neediness. Even so, her refusal to renounce passion, even if it only brings sorrow, is vaguely noble–and worthy of the author."

Lawrence Bommer

Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...In 1926, Playwright/Actor Noel Coward (the original Nicky) presented his scandalous- but critically acclaimed play, The Vortex, to Chicago audiences. The response was lackluster, and the six week run was cut to two weeks. Since the Chicago opening, 86 year ago, this show has only been revived one other time. So, The Vortex is the perfect inaugural show for a new company dedicated to ‘honoring the integrity of the writers‘ original vision while promoting the timeliness and universality of their stories and themes.‘"

Katy Walsh

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