Review “My Brilliant Divorce” (Irish Theatre): Figgins Keeps It Real

MyBrilliantDivorce-3The Irish Theater presents the Midwest Premiere of MY BRILLIANT DIVORCE.

Barbara Figgins (Angela) strolls on stage with her faithful companion at her side, a life-sized dog stuffed and on wheels.  Figgins will spend the next impressive hour and half chronicling Angela’s last four years. In this one woman show, Figgins plays Angela, a woman whose husband has left her for a younger gal.  A natural storyteller, Figgins takes on the portrayal with a mixture of glee, regret and mischief.

Figgins pulls the audience in immediately with her welcoming address.  In the first five minutes, she explains how her husband has left her.  She hesitates to complete her thought describing her initial reaction. “And I was… .”  We expect the word ‘devastated‘ or ‘depressed.‘  The audience waits for the anticipated downer.  Figgins pauses momentarily then exclaims with a twinkle in her eye, “…over joyed!”  We are now certain this is a comedic life-changing journey.

Figgins walks us up and down this road to discovery.  She describes the adjustments to dealing with life newly single.  Playwright Geraldine Aron penned the soliloquy as a natural style of revelation. These are Angela’s musing on signing the divorce papers or not. It’s like we’ve pulled up a chair around the kitchen table of a friend. Director Siiri Scott ensures Figgins delivers an unhurried and candid reflection. Sometimes she rants but she never whines. Figgins tells us how her husband inherited their couple friends.  And she finds the humor in being the odd one out for dinner parties.  She slips easily in and out of other voices and accents to mimic conversations.  Figgins confesses to self-diagnosing ailments which her doctor describes as a L.A.M.B. condition, Ladies with Access to Medical Books.  Everything about Figgins’ authentic performance suggests this is her actual life story.

This terrific one woman show is being performed in Chief O’Neil’s Attic. The venue is a speed bump.  I enjoy Chief’s for dinner and St. Patrick revelry. The attic as a theatre space is a struggle.  The space has 50+ chairs set up facing the performance.  The stage isn’t elevated making it difficult for shorter people to see.  In addition, at the start of the show, the air conditioner was so loud, I had to strain to hear Figgins.  They shut off the AC after a brief time and then the room became stifling.  I was so hot the show felt uncomfortably long.

Running Time: One hundred minutes with no intermission

At Chief O’Neil’s Pub and Restaurant

Written by Geraldine Aron

Directed by Siiri Scott

Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm

Sundays at 2:30pm (no matinee on November 1st)

Additional performances

October 18th and November 1st at 6pm, October 19th at 7:30pm

Thru November 1st

Tickets at www.irishtheatreofchicago.org

 

 

For more reviews and information on Chicago theatre, visit Theatre in Chicago.

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