Review: The Gift Theatre Presents Doubt at Steppenwolf Theatre (Through March 31, 2019)

A nun suspects the priest is engaging in inappropriate behavior with an altar boy. After the boy met with the priest, his breath smelled of alcohol and he acted strangely. The priest completely denies these allegations. The nun wonders what to do with this limited evidence. Is he innocent until proven guilty or is a suspicious circumstance enough to evict him?

 

Trailer for the 2008 film version featuring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Philip Seymour Hoffman

In this performance, Mary Ann Thebus plays the nun. She is often holding a script. She has had trouble remembering the lines due to medication she is currently on. They do have an understudy. While her passion for theatre is admirable as it allows her to preserve through these difficulties, in tonight’s production, the director should have utilized the understudy as it caused too much distraction impacting the quality of the performance. On the other hand, Michael Patrick Thornton is fantastic as the accused priest. His acting style is so smooth and he draws in attention expertly.

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The setup is very intimate in Steppenwolf’s smallest stage. The audience is split into two sets of seating areas with the stage in between. For those in the 2nd row or further back, their view is partially blocked by other people. In multiple scenes, the actors stand at opposite ends of the stage talking to each other. The audience is forced to swivel their heads back and forth like a tennis match. This could have been set up much better.

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Despite the issues, the powerful script by John Patrick Shanley shines through. It’s still a good show, but it could have been much better.

Get tickets now for Doubt through March 31st.

Cost of a ticket: $58

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price +

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

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Quinn Delaney

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