Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Presents RHINOCEROS Review – Frighteningly Real Surrealism

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Company - RHINOCEROS
Justin Tsatsa and Andy Blaustein

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre continues its string of stellar work with this production of Eugene Ionesco’s RHINOCEROS. The audience is immediately inserted into the world of the show even prior to curtain time. Actors meander around the set in character, giving a sense of what to expect. Whimsical music is played on a bassoon as you enter and find your seats. While the world of the play may seem “far fetched’ when taken literally, no one in attendance will be able to say they were not a part of it.

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Company - RHINOCEROS
Andy Blaustein and Nicola Rinow

A Thinly Veiled Metaphor of the Times We Live In

This extremely dark comedy centers around a town where a businessman and his prominent family are on a destructive stampede, and recruiting others to join in their annihilation. We meet characters from drunks to scholars to logicians to women who love cats. We see reactions from each character’s point of view and follow them as they decide to resist or become isolated victims of the mob mentality.

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Company - RHINOCEROS
Andy Blaustein and Chris Fowler

Director, Aaron Henrickson, calls the play “unfortunately timely.” It is an apt description of the subject matter given recent events in our country. His direction of this talented ensemble of actors who navigate this extraordinary world with grace shows a keen understanding of the subject matter.

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Company - RHINOCEROS

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Transforms Small Spaces

The intimate setting for this show brings the action directly into the faces of the audience. Given the amount of dialogue to be taken in, this play benefits from the small space immensely. The set is minimal but works cohesively with the production. If you’ve never felt the rumbling of a rhinoceros stampede in a small theatre, this small space will give you the chance you never knew you wanted.

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Company - RHINOCEROS
Melissa Reeves

The entire cast handles their characters with competence and reverence. Andy Blaustein carries his character through a complete journey before the audience even realizes it has happened. He handles comedy and intense drama with equal authority. Jennifer L. Mickelson steals Act One as the logician trying to sort out thoughts for the town. Her mastery of language and presentation of what most would view as a dull topic is anything but boring.

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Company - RHINOCEROS
Justin Tsatsa and Andy Blaustein

This is not a light night out at the theatre. The play is heavy with dialogue and makes no attempt to help you forget what is going on in the world. It is meant to make you confront the way people think in times of crisis. It is highly entertaining while also being intelligent and thought-provoking.

Photos by Austin Oie

Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.

Note: an excerpt of this appears in Theatre in Chicago. 


Top Pick For: Intellectuals
Not recommended for: Escape Seekers


August 28, 2017 - September 16, 2017



Free with suggested donation of $17 which goes directly to the creative team and actors

Online at

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Company - RHINOCEROS
Chris Fowler and Andy Blaustein
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