Heat | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Marsha Estell's 2004 comedy drama about four African-American women baring their souls during a long, hot summer's day (and night) receives a respectful if somewhat stilted production under Ilesa Duncan's direction. Estell has the basics of the genre down pat, providing perfectly timed insights from aging, occasionally addled Mudear; sibling rivalry between her wild child, Rose, and straight-arrow Sharon; and mild rebelliousness from a young woman, Sharon's daughter Shelly. Each character has at least one "revelation," none exactly unexpected. But Estell has an undeniable knack for honest dialogue and a refreshingly positive view of how families deal with crises. All that's needed now is more confident performances from the actors. --Kerry Reid a Through 1/21: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 and 7 PM, ETA Creative Arts Foundation, ETA Square, 7558 S. South Chicago, 773-752-3955, $25, two for one Thu and Sun 7 PM (except 1/21).

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