Salome | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Oscar Wilde's 1893 drama about the stepdaughter of Herod and her fatal attraction to John the Baptist (called "Jokanaan" in the play) may not be the best thing Wilde ever wrote, but it is the most unfettered: the master of English drawing-room comedies created his most idiosyncratic play in Salome, its perfumed poetry teeming with similes and high-flown images. Jimmy McDermott's clever, assured staging for the Side Project in the tiny Side Studio captures both the play's outsize passions and its delicate interludes. Setting it in a sort of 1920s salon, McDermott recalls both the Gay 90s of Wilde's heyday and the story's time period, just before the enormous upheaval caused by the advent of Christianity. A cast of 15 commits to the elaborate language without ever appearing to notice its excesses, particularly the mesmerizing Eva Bloomfield in the title role. a Through 3/20: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Side Studio, 1520 W. Jarvis, 773-973-2150. $12-$15; $20 for this show and When Women Wore Wings (see separate listing).

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Giau Truong.

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