Shining City Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 4 2015

Chicago's slow-mo, spontaneous Conor McPherson play festival continues with this Irish Theatre of Chicago (formerly Seanachaí) staging of his 2004 script, about a troubled therapist and his perhaps literally haunted patient. One benefit of the McPherson phenomenon is that it helps you get to know the Dublin-based playwright's tics, tales, and preoccupations. Shining City, for instance, offers interesting echoes of Port Authority (2001) and foretastes of The Night Alive (2013). But as directed here by Jeff Christian, it can't offer much else. Used as transition music, Christian's own neofolk compositions (cowritten with Matt Kahler) stamp out every hint of momentum. His handling of a crucial surprise is oafish. And worse, he wastes the talents of Brad Armacost (the patient) and Coburn Goss (the therapist) on poorly shaped scenes. The only survivors are the two cast members who, appearing in a scene apiece, aren't hobbled by Christian's start/stop approach: Carolyn Kruse, playing the therapist's doormat girlfriend, and Shane Kenyon, gruffly sensational as a man very, very far down on his luck. —Tony Adler

Price: $26

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