The Book Club Play | 16th Street Theater, Berwyn Cultural Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Book Club Play The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through May 14 2016

Karen Zacarías’s 2009 play (revised in 2013) tries to be both sharp satire and character-driven rom-com. Set in a mythical America where everyone is wild about reading, the play concerns a book club that agrees to be the subject of a documentary by a renowned Danish director. The reality-show-like setup provides the stage for a discussion of high and low art, "quality" literature and cheap thrillers. When it works, it works very well; Zacarías's characters are adeptly created, and her dialogue is pitch-perfect. But there are times when the play’s rom-com aspirations blunt the satiric message, and others where barbed wit undercuts the storytelling. This 16th Street Theater production, directed by Kevin Christopher Fox, does feature plenty of strong acting, most notably Ann Filmer’s hilarious and moving performance as a Martha Stewart-esque control freak and Brad Harbaugh's turn as her incorrigibly gauche husband. —Jack Helbig

Price: $20

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