Physical Theater Festival Chicago presents THE GIFT by Angela de Castro, (Brazil/UK) Review – Simple Pleasure

Physical Theater Festival Chicago THE GIFT

In an era of so-called sophistication and cool, perhaps we need the simpler, universal messages of love, hope and truth captured in THE GIFT. 

Angela de Castro (the Clown) was in character when she arrived at Stage 773 in costume, carrying her large present and wrapped bottle of wine.  She obtained tickets at the window and waited with the rest of the audience for the call to the theater.  She was fruitlessly looking for her guest among us, and as we took our seats, she took hers. She asked her neighbor to watch her parcels and save her seat while she went to look for her guest.  Expectantly, the clown ends up sitting stage left, near the door, waiting with anticipation and antics throughout the concert.

Physical Theater Festival Chicago THE GIFT

Physical Theater Festival Chicago Brings an Expert to Physical Fest

Angela de Castro is, in this writer’s view, a very loveable woman clown and a master performer. She is also, according to the program notes, a leading theatre practitioner, actor, teacher, director and speaker.  We were involved in her performance—whether she was navigating her square body through the rows or conducting a chorus of apologies to the concert artist (Rachel Ponsonby) whose performance she/we interrupted.  The decorated wine bottle becomes her partner as de Castro comically weaves her through tango, samba, and waltz, while the concert continues in the background.

This is gentle entertainment.  Rachel Ponsonby adequately performs classical standards on woodwinds; soft and pleasing to the ear.  Her ramrod rigidity (reflected in her choice of instruments—piccolo, flute, clarinet)--is a perfect foil to de Castro’s rotund flightiness.

Physical Theater Festival Chicago THE GIFT

Recommended for aficionados of mime and circus performance and those who seek beauty in small things.


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.

Watch this video showing the TOP PICK PLAYS of 2019


Friday, June 7th, at 7pm
Saturday, June 8th, at 7pm


Thrust Theater
1225 W Belmont
Chicago, IL

60 minutes


$15+, including Festival Pass option

For tickets visit the Stage 773 website.

For more information, read Physical Theater Festival Chicago 2019 – Preview

Photos courtesy of Physical Theater Festival Chicago

Note: An excerpt of this play appears in Theatre in Chicago.

Ann Boland
Portrait by Paul Sierra

Reviewer Ann Boland is committed to Chicago theater. Involved in the audience since the early 80’s, she’s witnessed firsthand the rise of our theater scene, our exceptional local talent, and the vigor of each new generation.  Ann handles public relations for authors and works on programs to help seniors with neurological movement disorders.  Please visit her website for more information.  


Click here to read more Picture this Post reviews by Ann Boland.

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