Theater Review: BLAGOJEVICH, BLAGOJEVICH! (Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago)

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by Paul Kubicki on September 8, 2012

in Theater-Chicago

NOT REALLY, NOT REALLY!

The most pressing question I had walking out of Athenaeum Theatre’s Blagojevich, Blagojevich! was “Was that really necessary?”  We’re already familiar with the long, hysterical end of Rod Blagojevich’s career—a thing so jam-packed with comedy on its own that a show dedicated to making fun of it seems redundant. Still, there is a cornucopia of source material to draw from, but playwright Michael K. Feinstein touches on much of this only peripherally, and instead injects unwarranted impersonations of Elvis and Richard Nixon, drawing untenable parallels between their fall and Rod’s (it also Paul Kubicki's Stage and Cinema review of BLAGOJEVICH BLAGOJEVICH! At Athenaeum Theatre in Chicagodoesn’t help that Eric Roach’s caricatures are done poorly). When this fails to bear rich comedic fruit, Feinstein dips into artless vulgarity: Nixon tells Rod to go after a reporter’s “pussy” more than once.  And then Rod (Darren Stephens) starts quoting Shakespeare, suggesting that this play was intended to be intelligent.  Under Clayton Fox’s direction, Blagojevich manages to stir a few chuckles in its 90-minute runtime, but I was mostly just uncomfortable and hot (the latter due to a broken air conditioner at the theatre).

No doubt there are folks with a taste for crass comedy, but even in terms of its low-brow genre, Blagojevich is both middling and late to the game.  I would have suggested some another Blago-spoof instead, but I’m pretty sure they all closed a year ago (or, at least, they should have).  If you’re putting on news-mocking comedy of this caliber, at least be timely. And thus, I suppose I answered the question posed at the beginning of the review: “Was that really necessary?” “No. It wasn’t.”

Paul Kubicki's Stage and Cinema review of BLAGOJEVICH BLAGOJEVICH! At Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago

photos by Corey Lubowich

Blagojevich, Blagojevich!
Heckman & Brost Productions
Athenaeum Theatre’s Studio 2
ends on September 22, 2012
for more info, visit Blagojevich

for more shows, visit Theatre in Chicago

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

insulted patron September 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm

CRASS NOT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY!!
I wish you would of reviewed the play and not the audience. As a patron of the arts I am not crass nor do I believe the participants at this play were either. Yes participants! because we enjoyed the play collectively. Was their vulgar language in this play? Yes, but it was just about 20 sec. Oh yeah, Blago so 20 minutes ago. If I’m not mistaken we are in a political year and what better time to be reminded about bloviating, megamaniac, bafoonish. sex-crazed politicians who idolize stars and other political criminals they can look up to. This play reminded me why I will be conscious of my choices: no big hair (John Edwards), no sex with interns (Clinton, Kennedy), and no break-ins (Nixon). Thanks for your review but I will recommend this play to others as it was recommended to and enjoyed by me.

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