A Home at the End of the World | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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A Home at the End of the World

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A Home at the End of the World, About Face Theatre. This story-theater version of Michael Cunningham's novel offers an interesting contrast to Tony Kushner's Angels in America, running at the Wellington Avenue Church a few blocks south. Where Kushner takes a sweeping, epic view of gay life in the mid-1980s, Cunningham scrutinizes the Reagan era from an almost smotheringly intimate perspective. Bobby, a Cleveland Deadhead nostalgic for a Woodstock nation he never experienced, comes to New York to live with his twentysomething onetime lover Jonathan and Jonathan's thirtysomething roommate, Clare; after Clare has a baby by Bobby, the trio sets up house in the country to raise their child and care for Jonathan's ex-boyfriend Erich, who's dying of AIDS.

Alternating between confessional monologues and dramatized encounters, adapter-director Kyle Hall brings out the emotional intensity and ambiguity of Cunningham's artful text. Unfortunately, as the central characters' relationship unravels, the script does too: what starts as an offbeat study of the mysteries of human nature devolves into an alternative-lifestyle soap opera. But even when the material flags, the production still impresses with its simple but elegant design (lights by Joel Moritz, set by Geoffrey M. Curley) and beautifully nuanced performances: Coby Goss as diffident Jonathan, Derek Hasenstab as passionate Bobby, Sarah Hartmann as tough yet vulnerable Clare, Chris Jackson as Erich, and Millicent Hurley-Spencer and Page Hearn as Jonathan's parents.

--Albert Williams

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