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Review: Be A Good Little Widow (Collaboraction)

By Chicagotheaterbeat @chitheaterbeat


Review: Be A Good Little Widow (Collaboraction)

Be A Good Little Widow

Written by Bekah Brunstetter  
Directed by Anthony Moseley
Flat Iron Arts Building, 1575 N. Milwaukee (map)
thru Oct 23  |  tickets: $15-$25  |  more info

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‘Widow’ grieves for its lost potential


Review: Be A Good Little Widow (Collaboraction)

Collaboraction presents


Be A Good Little Widow

Review by Katy Walsh 

Many twenty-somethings struggle with the reality of post college life.  As student loans become due, these alumni sit stunted.  “What do I really want to be?”  Is the big question looking for resolution.  Never is the answer “a widow.”  Collaboraction Theatre presents the Chicago premiere of Be A Good Little Widow.  Melody is a new bride.  She has followed her husband from Colorado back to his Connecticut hometown.  He’s a high power corporate attorney with a heavy duty travel schedule.  She is is ditzy, unemployed couch potato.  When fatality strikes, Melody must cope.  She can turn to her controlling, manipulative mother-in-law or her husband’s adorable, young assistant. What’s a widow to do? Be A Good Little Widow grieves for lost potential.

Review: Be A Good Little Widow (Collaboraction)
Playwright Bekah Brunstetter has penned a familiar tale.  Straight-laced attorney falls for pretty young thing.  His mother disapproves.  He is killed in a plane crash.  Very “Dharma & Greg” meet Lifetime TV movie of the week.  Brunstetter tries to break out of the formulaic material with flashback and what-if snippets.  Under the direction of Anthony Moseley, the technique brings confusion more than romantic whimsy. The back and forth cued up after lengthy black-out scenes is disjointed.  Multiple times I thought the pause indicated the show was over but then another scene starts. It’s a little clunky!

In the lead, Meghan Reardon (Melody) displays a range of emotions.  Reardon’s description of the plane crash haunts with vivid imagery.  I shiver.  The reality of the smells and sights of the disaster is disturbingly new to me.  But I still can’t muster up empathy much less sympathy for Reardon’s character.  Brunstetter wrote her as a desperate, lonely housewife who might cheat with the guy who fixes her cable.  That type of cliche is disturbingly old.  Despite Reardon garnering plenty of laughs with her scattered antics, she can’t make this character likable.  In a supporting role, a dimple-faced Christian Blackburn (Brad) is more than likable, lovable.  Blackburn charms as the poem writing assistant.  His earnest attempt to take a major role at the funeral is any boss’ fantasy.  

Be A Good Little Widow tries to be good and ends up being fine.  There is a little humor, little drama and little romance.  It’s a simple story that skims the surface of relationships and bereavement.  Collaboraction is better known for BIG groundbreaking theatrical and art-based experiences.  Be A Good Little Widow falls short of expectations.  After a brief mourning period, I’ll be ready for their next show. 


Rating: ★★½


Review: Be A Good Little Widow (Collaboraction)

Collaboraction’s Be A Good Little Widow continues through October 23rd at the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1575 N. Milwaukee (map), with performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $15-$25, and can be purchased by phone (312-226-9633) or online at (Running time: Ninety minutes with no intermission)

All photos by Candice Conner




Meghan Reardon (Melody); Susan Fay (Hope); Tommy Hicks (Craig); Christian Kain Blackburn (Brad); Valerie Groman, Emily Tate (understudies)

behind the scenes

Anthony Moseley (director); John Wilson (scenic); Mac Vaughey (lighting); Claudette Perez (sound); Elsa Hiltner (costumes); Nathalie Ayala (props); Sarah Moeller (producer); Candice Conner (photos)

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