Hedy Weiss Reviews: 'United Flight 232,' 'Arcadia,' More

Chicago Sun-Times theater critic Hedy Weiss reviews “Where Did We Sit on the Bus?” – a humorous one-man show about the Latino-American experience staged by Teatro Vista, starring the “supremely talented” actor-dancer-musician Brian Quijada.

She also looks at “United Flight 232” – an “intense and heart-stopping” play about the ill-fated Chicago-bound airplane that crashed in 1989.

The inaugural show in Writers Theatre’s new home, “Arcadia” by Tom Stoppard, is a “dazzling showcase for some of Writers’ most beloved performers,” Weiss says.

Weiss gives a “highly recommended” rating to “Adding Machine: A Musical,” a quirky performance being reprised by The Hypocrites.

And she gives a rousing endorsement to “West Side Story” at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.


Where Did We Site on the Bus?
Highly recommended
When:
Through April 10
Where: Teatro Vista at Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph St.
Run time: 90 minutes, no intermission

Brian Quijada performs in the one-man show, "Where Did We Sit on the Bus?"(Joel Maisonet)Brian Quijada performs in the one-man show, "Where Did We Sit on the Bus?"(Joel Maisonet)

“Under the expertly paced direction of Chay Yew (who clearly has taken his cues from the wildly varied beats of the performer’s high-flying metabolism), so much is effortlessly packed into this warp-speed show that it cannot be fully recounted. That’s all for the good. The true joy, and heartache, come from experiencing it firsthand.” Read Weiss’ full review.


“United Flight 232”
Highly recommended
When: Through May 1
Where: The House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St.
Run time: 90 minutes, with no intermission

Rudy Galvan (left to right), James Doherty and Johnny Arena perform in “United Flight 232.” (Michael Brosilow)Rudy Galvan (left to right), James Doherty and Johnny Arena perform in “United Flight 232.” (Michael Brosilow)

“The many and varied personal responses of all on board is an essential part of what makes “United Flight 232” so memorable. So are the almost absurdly comic forms of denial, as when food and beverage service continues for a while. The many forms of denial are on full display. So is the chanting of invaluable if mundane-sounding instructions (“Brace, brace, brace”). All this combines to make some of the most intense 90 minutes of theater in recent memory.” Read Weiss’ full review.


“Arcadia”
Highly recommended

When: Through May 1
Where: Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
Run time: 2 hours and 50 minutes, with one intermission

Scott Parkinson (Bernard Nightingale) and Kate Fry (Hannah Jarvis) perform in Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia.” (Michael Brosilow)Scott Parkinson (Bernard Nightingale) and Kate Fry (Hannah Jarvis) perform in Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia.” (Michael Brosilow)

“As for director Michael Halberstam’s choice of Tom Stoppard’s play, “Arcadia,” as the company’s opening salvo, it could not have been more ideal for many reasons. Not only is it a dazzling showcase for some of Writers’ most beloved performers from seasons past, but in its mix of complex ideas, sparkling wit and verbal acrobatics it is emblematic of what this company has always done best. Even more to the point, the many themes in Stoppard’s bristlingly brainy work seem custom-made for this particular moment in Writers’ history.” Read Weiss’ full review.


“Adding Machine: A Musical”
Highly recommended
When: April 1-May 15
Where: The Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave. 
Run time: 95 minutes, with no intermission

“It’s kind of a fantasia, chamber opera, musical theatre piece that started in Chicago many years ago and now is being revived by The Hypocrites,” Weiss said.

“[The main character] has this horrible tedious life every day, goes to the office, flirts with one girl but nothing ever happens, and comes home, the wife screams at him, goes to bed, and then it all starts over again.”

“It’s very compelling, and The Hypocrites do a great job with musicals,” Weiss said.


“West Side Story”
Highly recommended

When: Through April 24
Where: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora
Run time: 2 hours and 35 minutes, with one intermission

Tony (Will Skrip) is held back by Diesel (Aaron Patrick Craven) as Bernardo (Alexander Aguilar) takes a swing at Riff (Jeff Smith) in "West Side Story". (Liz Lauren)Tony (Will Skrip) is held back by Diesel (Aaron Patrick Craven) as Bernardo (Alexander Aguilar) takes a swing at Riff (Jeff Smith) in "West Side Story". (Liz Lauren)

“The intensity of the characters’ interaction brings a palpable hush to the audience. Whether in “Tonight,” “One Hand, One Heart,” or “Somewhere,” the love scenes between Maria (the ideally girlish Zoe Nadal, a formidable talent, who, in the true spirit of Juliet, projects a winning innocence paired with a fervent and determined drive for independence) and Tony (Will Skrip, with his fine tenor, tapping all the anguish of the Polish immigrant’s son who has tried to sever his ties with the Jets) are exquisitely rendered.” Read Weiss’ full review.


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