Agile, truthful and often very funny writing, “Shining City” is delivered by consistently impressive actors, especially a dazed and disorientated John Judd whose visions of his dead wife drive him to see the play’s protagonist, a therapist with equally terrifying relationship problems. The real fear driving all characters is of being alone, and the love plots of both therapist and patient neatly interweave. At one point, the patient demands “I just want to have an interaction where the rules apply again,” and for audiences frustrated by unsound theater, the play offers traditional but effective tropes. Ultimately, though, the main character seems void of any real drive or desire, and the play suffers from hollowness as a result of his vagueness and ambivalence. Overall the show is more psychologically under-whelming than anything else. Still, an engaging hour and a half of technically sound theater, with understated but graceful design and a particularly beautiful set. (Monica Westin)
At Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, (312)443-3800. This production is now closed.