Glamour | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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Shirley Anderson's last one-woman show, Big Blonde, was a witty, touching portrait of the decline and fall of a jazz-age party girl, based on Dorothy Parker's acerbic short story. There Anderson proved herself a capable comic actress, winning laughs with the tiniest gestures and changes in vocal tone. But Anderson's new solo show, Glamour, reveals how much more there is to the woman than the funny girl who first performed Big Blonde five years ago. Adapted by Anderson from a short story by Parker's contemporary Edna Ferber, Glamour describes a frantic day in the life of a 30s Broadway diva, Linda Fayne. It's no surprise that Anderson captures the character's controlled hysteria, a quality Fayne shares with Big Blonde's Hazel Barnes--what's surprising is how gracefully she handles the challenge of playing both Fayne and the 15-plus other characters. Just by shifting her weight, tossing her hair to the side, or lowering her voice an octave, she transforms herself into Fayne's husband, director, or hairdresser, doing just enough to distinguish them from Fayne but never so much that they threaten to upstage her. Even more impressive, Anderson has become adept at darker tones, showing us with just a quick look or a stifled sigh that Fayne is slowly dying behind her glamorous facade. Glamour may not be laugh-out-loud funny, as Big Blonde was, but it's much more satisfying. Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont, 665-2085. Monday, 8 PM. $15 (includes receptions before and after the performance).

--Jack Helbig

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/David Catlin.

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