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  Whisper House Reviews
Whisper House
Whisper House

Whisper House
Black Button Eyes Productions at Athenaeum Theatre
Thru - Feb 15, 2020

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Black Button Eyes Productions at Athenaeum Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Somewhat Recommended

"...Aside from those musical pleasures, there are moments in the "Whisper House" that absolutely had me in the heart. If Black Button Eyes could strip away all we don't need, and be aware that the theater is small, the danger of over-playing real, and that quieter and deeper moments resonate the most, this would be a lovely show, rich in all kinds of complexity."
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Chris Jones



Chicago Sun Times- Somewhat Recommended

"...But the ghosts’ function in the story is frustratingly vague. Christopher can sort of hear them, it seems, and they might serve to egg on his more destructive impulses. But they aren’t exactly menacing, and certainly not what you’d call haunting; they’re closer to aggressively twee."
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Kris Vire



Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Sheik's songs, melodic and rhythmically catchy in an alternative-country-rock vein, are mostly sung by the specters, who function as a sort of Greek chorus, commenting on the action while influencing the characters in ambiguous ways. This means that Christopher, the protagonist, does not express his emotional growth through music as one would usually expect in a musical. Happily, Spiegel—making his professional debut as Christopher—is an expressive and polished young performer who makes the audience genuinely interested in his moral struggle."
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Albert Williams



Stage and Cinema- Recommended

"...Well performed, the songs, coached by Micky York and artfully accompanied by a five-person band, hold their own despite some merely serviceable lyrics. Director Ed Rutherford inspires solid work from six actors: Spiegel brings immediate vulnerability to his malleable Christopher, though Anderson seems a tad too nice as a xenophobic lawman."
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Lawrence Bommer



Chicago Stage Standard- Highly Recommended

"...There is so much to love in this show: the sing-able tunes taughtly batoned by Michael York and his onstage band, the period costumes by Rachel M. Sypniewski, the excellent acting. But what makes the show resonant is the human connection and the fact that people do change during the course of the evening. "

Angela Allyn



NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...The cast also showcases some serious musical talents, most notably Nawrocki. At the same time, however, I question the direction of the two ghosts, as well as the sheriff, who too often deliver their lines with more schmaltz than finesse. Together they lack the sinister quality needed to convince the audience that everything here is being played for keeps. Along with the sometimes leaden choreography, this production may be better to whisper rather than shout about."
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Noel Schecter



WTTW- Highly Recommended

"...You know you are about to enter some very dark territory when the opening song of a musical suggests the characters you are about to meet might well be "better off dead." And for much of its ideally realized 90 minutes, this sentiment often seems like the best possible fate for the inhabitants of "Whisper House," the stylishly macabre, morally challenging show by Duncan Sheik (of "Spring Awakening" fame) and Kyle Jarrow. The show is now receiving its Chicago premiere by Black Button Eyes Productions, whose formidable director, Ed Rutherford (in collaboration with choreographer Derek Van Barham) continues to demonstrate his unique flair for dramatizing the more ghostly aspects of earthly existence."
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Hedy Weiss



Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Recommended

"...Set as it is at a solitary lighthouse on the North Atlantic coast, Whisper House can't help but feel a little chilly and remote, even as it does its best to invite you closer. Not that there aren't worthy ideas floating around; it's just that it feels like a musical idea that leapt out of Sheik and Jarrow's brains during a writer's retreat that just happened to get lost in the shuffle of their very busy schedules. It'll be interesting to see if they've tweaked it at all come its Off-Broadway opening in March, to see if it can reach a new height, or if it'll remain minor Sheikery as he moves on to other projects."
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Patrick O'Brien



Chicago Theater and Arts- Somewhat Recommended

"...In the final analysis, this Chicago premiere of "Whisper House" by Button Eyes Productions is a somewhat touching story of love and acceptance, with an unusual treatment and interesting musical score delivered by a competent cast but falling short in the way of fully inspired performances and visuals."
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Reno Lovison



Chicago On Stage- Somewhat Recommended

"...Whisper House has a fascinating concept and there are fine actors and musicians involved. It’s actually the kind of play that I usually like a lot. Unfortunately, though, I can’t recommend it."
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Karen Topham



Picture This Post- Recommended

"...For those with a strong moral compass, or those holding out for the good on the other side of personal demons, WHISPER HOUSE is a 2020 must see."
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Margaret Smith