Murder in Green Meadows | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Murder in Green Meadows


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


MURDER IN GREEN MEADOWS, Circle Theatre. Douglas Post's tight little drama begins like updated Updike: two flawed but attractive, prosperous suburban couples become romantically entwined. But then the play turns dark as adultery inspires murder. Post's theme--evil in the burbs--is not that original. But his decision to show us the murderer's side of things is inspired. And the plot moves along nicely until Post tries to tie it all up with a conventional punitive ending as unconvincing as it is pat.

When Victory Gardens produced this thriller in 1995, they turned Post's momentary lapse into the production's ruling aesthetic, underplaying the psychological terror and overplaying the plot's unsurprising twists. Circle Theatre's smaller, edgier production does better at revealing Post's strengths as a suspense writer. Certainly it helps that the play is being staged in Circle's tiny second theater, a space so intimate that even if you're sitting in the last row--the fourth--you feel like you're onstage yourself. In such a setting even the most subtle gesture pulls us in, as when Joan, the seductive sex-starved housewife, playfully leans back on the couch.

At least two of the four actors--Bethanny Alexander and Bart Petty--really know what they're doing. Petty in particular is superb as the predatory Thomas. By contrast Erin Noel Grennan is absolutely miscast as the brainy wife whose husband gets killed: are we supposed to believe this fluffy sorority-girl type was once vice president of a publishing house? Nevertheless, director Ty Perry has crafted a production that frequently had me on the edge of my seat.

--Jack Helbig

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →