Chicago Theater Review: THE BALCONY (Trap Door)

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by Paul Kubicki on September 13, 2013

in Theater-Chicago


In Jean Genet’s The Balcony, authority, sexual desire, and violence are so intricately intertwined that they’re nearly indistinguishable. Outside Madame Irma’s brothel, rebellion licks at the very foundations of civilized society, disrupting the rule of law and overthrowing the monarchy. Inside, cowardly men pose as judges, cardinals, and generals and exercise their “power” over the whores who attend to them. Paul Kubicki’s Stage and Cinema Chicago review of THE BALCONY at Trap Door TheatreIn Trap Door’s production, Genet’s uncomfortably funny, aphoristic script holds our attention with a certain morbid mystique. So too do the performances of Simina Contras and Nicole Wiesner. Contras steals the show even with a bit role, and Wiesner offers us a compelling, melodramatic portrayal of the power-hungry Madame Irma. Unfortunately, little else in this production commands the same attention. The Balcony is a bit of a come down for director Max Truax. While those familiar with his work have likely come to love his tense, mind-bending, boundary-pushing style, he’s a bit messy here, and can’t seem to bring his ensemble in focus. Furthermore, much of the ensemble is sloppy—some seem to not have much grasp on their characters, while others even flub lines. The production values of this avant garde company seem to have also taken a hit.  With some of the finest talent of the city, one cannot help but wonder why this production falls into mediocre territory, far short of the sum of its parts.

Paul Kubicki’s Stage and Cinema Chicago review of THE BALCONY at Trap Door Theatrephotos by Michal Janicki

The Balcony
Trap Door Theatre, 1655 West Cortland
scheduled to end on October 12, 2013
for tickets, call 773-384-0494
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