Mud, River, Stone | Athenaeum Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Mud, River, Stone The Short List (Theater) Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 14 2014

An imperious British businessman, a romantic African aid worker, a vacationing bourgeois African-American couple, and a half-crazed forest-dwelling Belgian are stranded in an abandoned hotel somewhere in southeast Africa. A 20-year civil war recently ended, but guerrilla fights are rumored nearby. The long-belittled bellboy, reverting to his rebel-fighting days, snatches a pistol and holds everyone hostage, demanding grain and a blanket from some unidentified international agency. It should be an explosive mix, but Lynn Nottage's talky, ill-plotted 1997 play is largely inert. The characters’ opposing interests and their conflicting visions of "real Africa" are reiterated rather than developed for two long hours, leading to a hostage crisis of escalating implausibility. Andrea J. Dymond's ponderous Eclipse Theatre production clings doggedly to the script's schematic surface. —Justin Hayford

Price: $28

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