Review Round-up: Bombs, Babes and Bingo

Time Out Chicago
“4 Stars! Critic’s Pick.”

“It’s a clever storytelling device that’s more than just a gimmick. The random structure of Merri Biechler’s new play reflects the fragmented memory of her central character, a bomb builder recovering after being caught in an explosion. Dennis (Richard Perez) doesn’t know which memory is going to bombard him next, an experience the actors and audience share.”

“The added element of chance gives the production the energy of an improv show, and the initial surprise of the bingo number propels each scene.”

“Stroud gives a striking performance as she transitions from sad clown to aggressive housewife. The rest of the ensemble is similarly skilled at navigating the story’s unpredictable twists.”

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Chicago Critic
“Highly Recommended”

“Impressively infused with energy, the cast does a fantastic job of adapting to the mood of the scene required seconds after it’s announced.”

“…the fun is seeing these scenes play out randomly and following Dennis in his strange, poignant and often surreal journey to figure out his work and life meaning.”

“[Stephanie] Stroud in particular stands out as a quintessential housewife deteriorating under the strain of balancing the equation of duties as a mother and wife. She also brings the most comic moments to the production with her clown-college career (and with her precision, I had to wonder if she actually ever was a clown).”

“Aided by some marvelously creepy video projections by Michelle Underwood and a toy box set design also by Michelle Underwood with Robert S. Kuhn, the tone jumps from romantic to somber to hilarious in a whirling 80 minutes that never fails to be engrossing and mentally engaging.”

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Centerstage Chicago
“Highly Recommended.”
“Must-See Show.”

“Mortar Theatre’s wild, winning production at Luna Central is a fittingly explosive affair.”

“Director Rachel Edwards Harvith walks the thin line between coherence and chaos and she walks it well.”

“Strong performances, and an intriguing, sci-fi production design bolster a daring, moving script, making a compelling case for drawing order from chaos.”

“Chaos may comprise the core of this play, but elegance is what’s at the heart of this production.”

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Gaper’s Block Chicago
“Highly Recommended.”

“Beyond brava (and I cannot put too fine a point on “beyond” in Merri Biechler’s writing and Rachel Edwards Harvith’s direction)…”

“An amazing plot device driving a stellar cast performing in a perfect storm of theatrical mathematics.”

“I was blown away (yup, I said it!) by the concept, the enactment and the performances.”

“Stephanie Stroud multiplies Lucille Ball’s physical comedy and Lady Macbeth’s survival instinct”

“My friend thanked me for the gift of accompanying me to see Bombs, Babes and Bingo. Indeed, BBB is a gift. More please, and can we get an extended run?”

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Flavorpill Chicago
“Editor’s Pick.”

“Merri Biechler ofMortar Theatre composes a smart play, bookended with fixed first and final scenes, allowing the interior sequences to vary as they are randomly drawn live via bingo cage.”

“As Dennis attempts to find patterns in his everyday life, a greater stage picture is set, one which examines life, death, terrorism, and explosive relationships.”

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Chi Theatre Addict/Huffington Post

“Mortar Theatre’s four-person cast (Richard Perez, Stephanie Stroud, Erica Cruz Hernandez and Megan Tabaque), under the direction of Rachel Edward Harvith, commits to the challenge with gritty determination.”

“I’ve never seen anything quite like Bombs, Babes and Bingo, and the boundary-pushing Mortar continues to demonstrate why they are a force to be reckoned with in the Chicago theatre scene.”

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NewCity Chicago

“Michelle Underwood and Robert S. Kuhn’s set is delightfully haphazard. Underwood’s exquisitely designed video projections bring a whimsical austerity“

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Chicago Theater Beat
“3 Stars!”

“The aesthetic is powerful. And at the end, it’s playful. B-I-N-G-O!”

“Richard Perez (Dennis) delivers a touching and serious contemplation as a superior scientist and inferior husband/father.”

“Stephanie Stroud, Erica Cruz Hernandez, Megan Tabaque – bring the comedy with a playful style. They are a funny trio! In particular, a straight-faced Stroud utters absurdity hilariously.”

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Chicago Reader
“Recommended.”

“[Director Rachel Edwards] Harvith pumps it full of spontaneity and delightful, controlled chaos.”

“Stephanie Stroud is a stand-out as Dennis’s hapless wife.”

“With its clever bingo-ball gimmick, this frenetic Mortar Theatre show illustrates two points on the list of “25 Rules for Creating Good Theater”…”

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