Runaway Home | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Many plays better than this domestic drama are less moving. The conflicts between erstwhile singer Betty Ann and her family may be predictable, but everyone with a mother will be crying when Betty Ann wails that if she leaves to resume her career no one will know how to calm her son after a nightmare. Playwright Javon Johnson, who also wrote the sophisticated House That Jack Built, can't get beyond stereotype here: the good daughter, the bad daughter, the hustling eldest son. More troubling is his failure to make Betty Ann real; I thought Donica Thornton was giving a one-note performance in the role until that line about her son, the first time she had more than a one-note character to play. Appealing performances come from Amos Ellis as Betty Ann's brother and James Pringle as an aging grocer who courts her with turnips "stolen from his own store!" Through 4/24: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 and 7 PM. Sun 3/27, 7 PM only. ETA Creative Arts Foundation, ETA Square, 7558 S. South Chicago, 773-752-3955. $25; two for one Thu and 7 PM Sun (except closing night).

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