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Local troupes also have their hits and misses.
Keith Griffith praises Polarity Ensemble Theatre’s production of Tom Jones—based on an adaptation by David Hammond that pares down the 18th-century comic novel without hacking away at its wit—while Justin Hayford lauds the linguistic and structural magic playwright Lucas Neff works on the seemingly trite premise of a writer and an actor stranded in a cabin in The Last Duck from Jackalope Theatre Company. Seanachai Theatre Company gracefully follows the tonal twists of Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten. And unexpected darkness adds poignancy to Chicago Tap Theatre’s usual humor in Eyes Without a Face.
On the other hand, Adventure Stage's The Giver and Hubris Productions's The House of Yes both feature convincing acting but never fully embrace the darkness of their premises. Suzan-Lori Parks's adaptation of The Scarlet Letter, Fucking A, fails to live up to the cleverness of its title, says Zac Thompson, who also finds that Stefan Brun's new version of Bertolt Brecht's Drumming in the Night strives to convey the dazed state of post-World War I Germany but only manages to daze the audience.