Windy City Times, August 29, 1996
The production by the Thirteenth Tribe, currently playing in the bunker-like depths of the Chopin Theatre, rejects this facile interpretation wholly. Far from glossing over Genet’s arguments, director Joanna settle emphasizes them by keeping her actors clothed at all times, albeit in fetishistically provocative garments, and allowing the eroticism to arise out of the ideas articulated by a cast displaying an attention to verbal detail rarely found in actors as young as these.
This show is not a simple talking-heads symposium–Settle keeps the play’s action kinetic (and frequently humorous) with some punctuative staging as intricate and agile as dance (the scene with Irma and her sidekick, Carmen, literally rolling in a pitful of money is a production number by itself). And the 21-member ensemble pace themselves with marathon-runner efficiency so that even in the final scenes, when Genet’s philosophy becomes somewhat opaque, the action remains visually and vocally riveting.
– Mary Shen Barnidge –
Panels open to reveal a hellish yet titillating atmosphere of paradox and groveling paranoia. Director Joanna Settle has guided her vinyl-bedecked cast methodically through Genet’s proclivity for combining the microscopically subtle with the grossly overblown. They succeed in tottering between obscene displays and tantalizingly suggestive posturing.
– Lucia Mauro –
Imaginatively using the deep space of the theatre’s basement playing area, director Joanna Settle has created a chambered fun house of mirrors, windows, shadows and sliding doors–a shifting scene of illusion and reality.
– Richard Christiansen –