The slice-of-life vignettes in this stage adaptation of Stuart Dybek’s “The Coast of Chicago” suffer from a theater-cute affectation along the lines of Neil Simon-meets-Studs Terkel. Beware the show that takes great pains to point out its kaleidoscopic display of colorful characters, as does this Walkabout Theatre production. Directed by Gary Zabinski with a slavish sort of reverence for the source material, the piece begins somewhat arbitrarily, giving off the disturbing impression that you’ve inadvertently arrived mid-story. A narrator looks back at his childhood growing up the son of Polish immigrants in post-World War II Pilsen, where his pals were mostly Mexican and their haunts mostly the streets. While these memories do eventually gain some traction in terms of storytelling—poetically rendered nostalgia has a way of doing that—the play overall feels arcless and incomplete. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.