The Next Thing | Strawdog Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Next Thing Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 7 2014

Kate is a cultivated (read "snooty") British actress who attracted Hollywood's attention by appearing in an earnest little indie film. Conor is a hunky young American star who affects a hip-hop-white-boy style a la Entourage. Absurdly paired in a period romance, they discover an instant mutual dislike. Naturally, they flail and bicker—and sing—their way into each other's arms as they costar in subsequent movies. It's a cute conceit—a variation on the familiar hate-you-till-I-love you screwball narrative of which both The Taming of the Shrew and It Happened One Night are examples—and it could make for an engaging musical if the complications were rolled out cleverly enough. But they aren't. Ronan Marra's book and Jon Steinhagen's mostly undistinguished songs are tediously pat, tending to illustrate the Conor-Kate relationship rather than develop it. And the production, directed by Marra, lacks spark. Still, I hope the authors continue to work on the idea: maybe the next draft of The Next Thing will realize its potential. —Tony Adler

Price: $15-$20


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