Beginner's Luck | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Beginner's Luck

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BEGINNER'S LUCK, Circle Theatre. A reputation is a terrible thing to waste. Just when Forest Park's Circle Theatre was garnering a reputation for pushing the limits of suburban non-Equity theater (such as it is), along comes Beginner's Luck. Jon Lipsky's 1979 play attempts to retell the Old Testament story of Saul and David in an irreverent, quasi-hipster style reminiscent of David Mamet's much superior The Frog Prince. But Lipsky never seems to have a point, throwing together two incoherent hours of historical lectures, broad lampoons, choral speaking, and forgettable songs.

Granted, this is not a Circle main-stage production but part of its underground series, designed to give "aspiring" theater artists a chance. Still, director Kelly Kleiman does little to improve upon the confused script. Her actors shuffle about stiffly, rarely find honest moments, and adopt acting styles unlike anyone else's onstage. The show might be endearing if it were a pageant at your local church, where you know that Saul is your paperboy and David the kid who packs your groceries. But presented in a professional forum, it's simply unfortunate. --Justin Hayford

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