Great Expectations | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Great Expectations

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At first it seems Jennifer Green's frenetic staging and Michael Stock's "highlights" adaptation will deliver Dickens's coming-of-age novel at warp speed, with conflicts erupting out of nowhere only to return there. But this tale of a young man who overcomes snobbery by confronting his own ingratitude eventually settles into a solid piece of storytelling thanks to Michael Quinn's authoritative portrayal of Pip, also the narrator: Quinn grounds every moment in the sense that this character has an existence beyond his lines. Similarly grounded are Bernard Beck's poignant performance as Pip's benefactor, Brooks Darrah's unforced depiction of decent blacksmith Joe, and Joyce Piven's deadly dry Miss Havisham. The performers (especially the younger ones) acquit themselves well, though Greta Sidwell Honold's Estella is curiously sunny and caring even as she denounces her own coldness and cruelty. Her smile should chill the air, not warm the heart. Opens Thu 5/19, 7:30 PM. Through 6/26: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM. Piven Theatre, Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes, Evanston, 847-866-8049. $23-$25.

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