Eclectic Full Contact Theatre RICHARD III Review – The King of Chicago

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre presents their take on the Shakespeare classic Richard III set in the city of Chicago now through November 3, 2019

Smooth jazz floats out of the hallway as we walk up to the theater on the third floor of the Athenaeum Theatre. Inside, a singer sways as they croon into the microphone up on the stage. The cast mills about on stage laughing, drinking, and lounging in this jazz club. Suddenly, a poker game seems to have gone awry and all hell breaks loose.

The tables have turned at the beginning of RICHARD III. Now begins his assent to become the king of Chicago.

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre RICHARD III
Murderer 2 (Kathryn Miller); Richard (Andrew Pond); and Murderer 1 (Matthew Schufreider)

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Steps into the Prohibition Era

This production of RICHARD III has taken us out of England and moved us forward hundreds of years and across continents to the 1930s in the city of Chicago.

The set stays the same throughout the production and the scenes move in and out of this jazz club. A curtain made of silver strands sits behind the jazz club stage.  A few groups of tables, chairs, and floor poufs are clustered around the stage. And a bar sits off to the side manned by the ever present bartender where our cast makes frequent visits.

This setting in the 30s is an interesting take since the company still uses the original Shakespearean text. It’s a juxtaposition where this elevated prose is paired with an era where paid goons are ready to beat people senseless with baseball bats.

For this writer, the setting in Chicago was fun but didn’t necessarily add anything to the original story.

Shakespeare Comes Natural

Most of the cast seems to be ready to take on Shakespeare with Andrew Pond leading the charge as the titular character. He delivers the Shakespearean prose with ease and when he gets into his groove, we forget the setting altogether and are gripped by his power hungry monologues.

If you’re a fan of classic Shakespeare done in classic Shakespeare ways, this might not be the production for you. However, if you’re a fan of Shakespeare and like to see his works put in different settings, this production of RICHARD III would be a good fit for you.

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED

CAST:

Andrew Pond
Meg Elliot
Jacquelyn Haas
Julian Diaz
Julian Serna
Gayle Starr
Nick Dorado
Matthew Schufrieder
Kathryn Miller
Elise Soeder
Jean Marie Koon
Karly Hannah
Lin Bo
Rae Hamilton-Vargo
Cydia Flowers
Matthew Schnitker
Jolie LaBelle
Alma Selgado
Whitney Pipes
Tina Kim Nguyen

CREATIVE:

Director: Natividad Uehara
Daniel Washelesky
Kaeley Osterman
Lori Eyre
Katherin Siegel
Sharai Bohannon
Rachel Lake
Frank Gasparro
Ty MIles
Jessica Lauren Fisher
Michael Woods

When

Now through November 3, 2019
Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00p
Sundays at 2:00p
Additional Saturday matinees October 26 and November 2 at 2:00p

Where

Athenaeum Theatre
Studio Two
2936 N Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL

Tickets

$15+
For full price tickets and ticket availability visit Eclectic Full Contact Theatre website

Check for Half-Price Deals from Hot Tix:

Photos by Katherine Siegel

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago

Alexis Bugajski Photo: Liz Lin

About the Author

Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.

Editor's Note:  Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski

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