I have yet to see a bad production at Lookingglass, and The Great Fire is no exception. Originally I thought the play going to be a huge spectacle like Lookingglass has become known for in the past few years. This play gets back to the acting roots that this theatre is known for.
Seven actors told the story of the Great Chicago fire. I liked the idea that real people were the characters in the show. So many times actors on stage perpetuate the myth of unrealistic body images or magazine cover looks. It gives me hope. As each actor shifted from character to character, they didn’t any of the story. Only one member of the cast remained constant and that was Lindsay Neal Whiting as the fire. She was a powerful image of a fire that destroyed a city, despite her petiteness. This little powerhouse stood her own as the used her strength in the role of fire . Another standout was Cheryl Lynn Bruce , especially her portrayal of the opportunistic alderman who tried to profit from others misfortunes. He wanted to use gun powder to blow up Chicago. Stephanie Diaz was so charming as the widow and puppeteer. Her puppets were both educational as well as entertaining.
As a transplant, I learned a lot about the myths of the Great Fire. This was pretty amazing since I was viewing the play in one of the only edifices still standing after that event. For an educational and entertaining evening , see “The Great Fire.” at Lookingglass theatre at 821 N Michigan Avenue. For tickets , call the box office at 312-337-0665 or go to http://www.lookingglasstheatre.org.