Promethean Theatre THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT Review – It’s a Mad, Mad World

A man in a business suit first sits in the middle observing us audience members enter the theater. The tinklings of a music box play as other actors slowly make their way on stage. And as the doors close, they begin to sing a somber tune. And so begins the tale of THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT.

Promethean's Corrupt World

During the 1940’s oil was king and some people would do anything to get it - including breaking through the streets of Paris! We hear the workings of such a deal happening between a baron, a company president, and a prospector. They’re sure the cafe they’re sitting in is situated right on top of an oil well.

What they don’t know is their plot is overheard by the good misfits of the town and inform their friend, Countess Aurelia a.k.a. the Madwoman of Chaillot. She vows she will do everything she can to save the world from this corruption!

Promethean Theatre THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT
Jennifer Vance as Gabrielle, Elaine Carlson as Countess Aurelia, Laura Sturm as Constance Photo: Tom McGrath
Promethean Theatre THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT
Elaine Carlson as Countess Aurelia, Brian Hurst as The Sewerman Photo: Tom McGrath

It’s a Mad, Mad Ensemble

The ensemble is filled with interesting characters such as The Ragpicker and The Street Singer. All friends of Countess Aurelia and assist in ridding the world of these corrupt, greedy men.

Our madwoman Countess Aurelia played by Elaine Carlson is a bright spot in this gray and greedy world. She is fun and has unending waves of enthusiasm and love of life. Carlson plays Aurelia with balance of seeming madness, but never seems to be completely off the rails.

Promethean Theatre THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT
Brian Hurst as The Prospector, Brendan Hutt as The Baron, Jamie Bragg as The Broker, Jerry Bloom as The President Photo: Tom McGrath

What is Real and What is Fantasy?

THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT is a poetic satire by Jean Giraudoux. And so as our Madwoman plots to get rid of the businessmen and other no-do-gooders, everything's meant to be a metaphor. For this writer, the metaphor element wasn’t presented strongly enough and without it, the play fell into a lull as it felt too realistic.

Another note is the show is 2 ½ hours long. While the cast did their best to elevate the script to engage audience members, there are long stretches of dialogue that to this writer felt a bit dry.

Promethean Theatre THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT
Brenda Wlazlo as Irma, Jennifer Vance as The Singer Photo: Tom McGrath

THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT would be a good fit for those who are earth lovers themselves, love seeing plays about the destruction of rampant capitalism, and perhaps find more traditional plays appealing. It might not be the best fit for those who aren’t so much into a play about a specific cause or are looking for a quick, snappy show.

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED

When

Now through March 17
Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm
Sunday at 2:00pm

Where

The Athenaeum
2936 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657

Tickets

$17-$27
Tickets can be purchased on the Athenaeum Theatre website  or by phone at 773-935-6875

Photos:  Tom McGrath

Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theater in Chicago

Promethean Theatre THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT
Brian Hurst as The Prospector, Tom Murphy as The Policeman Photo: Tom McGrath
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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