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  Witch Reviews
Witch
Witch

Witch
Writers Theatre
Thru - Dec 16, 2018

Show Information


Writers Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...Silverman's new play actually is a new version of a pretty obscure Jacobean drama, "The Witch of Edmonton," by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford. In the 1621 source play, though, the devil appears to the Elizabeth in the form of a nasty black dog. In Silverman's play, he takes the form of a sympathetic man who Elizabeth says is "handsome" and who's a lot more intelligent and charming than the typical villager. Elizabeth has changed too: Instead of being an embittered old woman, she's the kind of whip-smart companion who could tempt the devil himself to an off-the-clock glass of wine."
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Chris Jones



Chicago Sun Times- Highly Recommended

"...Silverman keeps the period setting and a handful of characters from the earlier play, but animates them with modern language and attitudes. Scratch (Ryan Hallahan, deploying the same channels of charm and menace he brought to Steppenwolf's "Pass Over" last year for comic purpose here) isn't so much the devil as he is a representative of the devil's team: a "junior salesman," as he puts it, peddling wish fulfillment in exchange for souls. As in all such pacts, of course, his clients aren't careful enough in what they wish for."
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Kris Vire



Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Lyons's cast is compelling from top to bottom (Francis, as a deadpan, strong-willed Elizabeth, is a consistent scene stealer), and without spoiling anything, a shocking sequence fight-choreographed by Matt Hawkins is undoubtedly one of the richest, most visceral scenes to play out on a Chicago stage all year."
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Dan Jakes



Windy City Times- Highly Recommended

"...It's tough to think of a world premiere this year with more resonance than Jen Silverman's Witch. Raging, hopeful, weeping: No matter how you leave Witch, you won't leave unscathed."
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Jen Silverman



Let's Play at ChicagoNow- Recommended

"...Silverman's approach takes a witty and fun perspective to the theatrical version with a unique dialogue (21st-century language) humor that stimulates questions regarding whether one person can influence the world. In this updated version of ‘Witch’ the ‘Prince of Darkness’ is portrayed as a handsome young man that tries to deceive three souls, who refer to himself as a "merchant of hope.”"
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Rick and Brenda McCain



Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Each of the characters meets with Scratch seeking something special, and we learn just how far they will go. His struggle with Elizabeth is the greatest as he finds himself attracted to her and caught in her spell. FYI- they treat the scenes between the Devil and the Witch as sales calls, with hopes and desires and meeting quotas and closing the deal. Anyone who has been in sales, will love the way this is written and performed. Might be a great idea for a sales company to have an outing in Glencoe at Writers to use this play as a learning experience. Mr. Hallahan and Ms Francis have just the right chemistry to make it work."
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Alan Bresloff



NewCity Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...You need to see this play. I know. You hear that a lot. You’ve even heard it from me before. But that doesn’t make it any less true. In fact, it might make it more true. Can you trust me on that? You need to see this play. I need you to see this play. Because if we aren’t just sentient meat floating through an endless stream of annihilating nothingness in every direction and dimension then I would really like to know that. And I need to know that you know that too. Because what else is there?"
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Kevin Greene



WTTW- Highly Recommended

"...Now receiving an altogether riveting world premiere production at Writers Theatre, with a cast of six bravura actors under the superb, airtight direction of Marti Lyons, “Witch” is a pitch-black fairy tale for our times, and one that is not to be missed. In fact, it might just be the sharpest and most bewitching piece of work about the relationships between men and women and fathers and sons, as well as the whole notion of masculinity and the plight of women, now on a Chicago stage."
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Hedy Weiss



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...Jen Silverman confirms why she’s a playwright to be taken seriously. Her work ranks up there with the very best, as illustrated by her two recent Chicago productions. In her adaptation of this little-known Jacobean drama, Silverman’s brought new life to an old story from four centuries ago. With just a few twists, the elimination of several superfluous characters and by updating the language to today’s vernacular, the playwright has created a mesmerizing one-act drama that’s filled with unexpected humor and feels as contemporary in theme as today’s headlines."
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Colin Douglas



Chicagoland Theater Reviews- Recommended

"...“Witch” will be most interesting to audiences willing to immerse themselves in a chancy but adventurous play. It’s not perfect and some viewers may take more social commentary out of the production than I did, but at its “Witch” is variously absorbing, humorous, and unsettling."
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Dan Zeff



The Fourth Walsh- Recommended

"...Writers Theatre presents the World Premiere of WITCH. Playwright Jen Silverman weaves an intriguing tale of one witch, one devil, and four poor souls. The play immediately engages in the very first three scenes. Silverman has a frustrated Elizabeth (played by a solid Audrey Francis) lamenting about the villagers’ treatment of her. They believe she’s a witch. Francis nails a humor riddled soliloquy by ranting about when the crops or the weather is bad, the town blames her. She describes the women at the well recoiling at her ‘curse’ when she merely muttered ‘move your bucket.’ A hardened Francis seems resigned to being shunned and living in solitary confinement."
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Katy Walsh



Third Coast Review- Highly Recommended

"...All art is a mirror, but plays like Witch, plays that reflect our image back in a murky, somewhat unholy light are particularly important. You’ll see something different than I did, which is where the magic lies. I bet we’ll have both seen something broken and beautiful. I’ll bet it’s something we might have been afraid to face. But, lucky us: we have the help of a poet’s guiding hand."
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Matthew Nerber



The Hawk Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...Despite the deficiencies, however, there are moments in the show which remain entertaining and impactful. The final few interactions between Scratch and Elizabeth are the most engaging portions of the show due to stellar performances from Audrey Francis and Ryan Hallahan. Additionally, the show comes with the signature production value of Writer’s Theatre; the set design (Yu Shibagaki) and stage direction (Marti Lyons) is some of the best in the greater area. If you take certain elements of the show at face value you will find enjoyment in Witch, however the impactful whole is lost upon combination."
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Ryan Moore



Chicago Theater and Arts- Highly Recommended

"...There’s a lot to think about in “Witch,” Jen Silverman’s new play now at Writers Theatre. Staged in Writers’ intimate Gillian Theatre, the acting is first rate as cast members portray issues and problems Silverman raises that are both age-old and au courant."
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Jodie Jacobs



Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...In the end, though, this play's power comes from Silverman's words and themes. It may feel bleak to wonder whether we have any hope left, but it is a legitimate question and concern for our age. Silverman couches that concern in a script that contains the slickest, funniest devil you would ever want to run into, but ultimately the question is whether or not we have dug ourselves a hole too deep to crawl out of. Witch will make you ponder that as it entertains you and leave you talking about what you just witnessed. This is a play that dares to ask not so much whether we should metaphorically sell our souls, but what we should wish for in return. And what, if anything, is enough."
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Karen Topham



PicksInSix- Recommended

"...This is an introspective piece, with truly inspired comic moments, that ultimately tackles the very serious topics of sexism and avarice through the ages, while addressing the hopelessness that we all face from time to time: a desire to push the reset button and start all over again."
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Ed Tracy



Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...Silverman’s play about the choices we make and the consequences that follow is certainly timely. But on top of that, with Halloween right around the corner, who doesn’t love another witch story? In this reviewer's estimation, this is a cleverly crafted piece and thought-provoking script make Witch a must-see"
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Lauren Katz