Private Lives | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Private Lives

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Chief among the inelegant oddities framing this Pretty Blue Sky production of Coward's frothy classic is the way the title's been stenciled, in deco lettering, on one wall of the set. One assumes it's there to remind viewers which play they're watching. Other discordant notes include overdeliberate pacing--looking for meaning where there's precious little, the actors seldom achieve the clip that's the baseline for the piece's rat-a-tat rhythms--and the space's echo-chamber effect, which drowns the glittering dialogue and imparts a murky distance to what should be immediate and crisp. Directors Brian DesGranges and Bridget Kies, not especially in evidence, must take some of the blame, but it's not as though the show is horrible--it's just not very good. --Brian Nemtusak a Through 9/1: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500, $15.

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