Phedra | New World Repertory Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Phedra The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 5 2009

So much doesn't work in this production of Jean Racine's 1677 tragedy about an Athenian queen who falls deeply and self-destructively in love with her stepson. The acting is stiff and flat, the set is awkward and unattractive, and the costumes are unremarkable. Worse yet, the lead actors, Sarah Pinkham and Brian Barber, have no onstage chemistry. Though otherwise quite queenly in the title role, Pinkham never convincingly lusts after Barber, and Barber's hysterical reaction to her is so over the top (he seems more repulsed by the idea of kissing a girl than breaking the incest taboo) it's almost campy. Alison Henderson's cast is rounded out with performers who don't know how to convey the power of this story of love and death, and don't seem to care. The multiple fatalities at the end come as something of a relief. --Jack Helbig

Price: $15-$20

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