California Suite | CIC Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

California Suite The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through July 1 2012

This lackluster revival shows just how hard comedy can be—or at least how hard Neil Simon can be. It takes a clever director and actors to find the depth in Simon's 1976 quartet of one-acts, all set in the same California hotel room. In the wrong hands, his characters become mere sketch comedy stereotypes, and most members of Josh Johnson's uneven cast aren't up to the challenge. Some are content to skim along the surface, playing the easy gags and missing the subtext. Others play Simon's anger—his people are often as hostile as Harold Pinter's—and lose the comedy. A few get it right (Joanna Riopelle, Evan Voboril, Eric Bays, and Tori Ulrich), but their efforts aren't enough to sweeten this bitter Suite. —Jack Helbig

Price: $20

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