Expecting Isabel | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Expecting Isabel

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Lisa Loomer's bittersweet comedy deserves better than this Rivendell Theatre Ensemble staging. Her story of a thirtysomething couple who desperately want to conceive or adopt a child rings true--and avoids all the cloying cliches that make shows like Maltby and Shire's Baby so nauseating. But too many of the Rivendell folks don't have a clue how to mine the humor and pathos in Loomer's script. In particular artistic director Tara Mallen doesn't really have the range to play all the moods of the protagonist, Miranda, a once rational woman driven over the edge by painful medical procedures and all the myriad torturous details that turn the attempt to become parents into an emotional roller coaster. Keith Kupferer has better luck finding both the laughs and heart in Miranda's not-quite-grown-up husband. But the play really belongs to Miranda and so it's Mallen's to lose. Through 3/5: Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 7:30 PM. No show Fri 2/11. Storefront Theater, Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph, 312-742-8497. $15.

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