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Theater Shows
City & The City, The

A fantasy of the mind's eye.

centerstage reviewed this performanceReviewed by Centerstage!Go Chicago!

Lifeline Theatre
6912 N. Glenwood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60626 Map This Place!Map it
Tickets: or (773) 761-4477

China Miéville

Lifeline Theatre


Related Info:
Official website

Runs February 28, 2013-April 7, 2013

Friday7:30 p.m.
Saturday4 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sunday4 p.m.
Thursday7:30 p.m.

Recommended a "Must See" Show

Lifeline specializes in fantastic adaptations of fantastically unadaptable literature. If you liked their take on Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere," you must immediately purchase tickets for their latest world premiere, a stage version of China Mieville's "The City and the City." This critically acclaimed book, a sort of multi-dimensional police procedural, is about a detective working a murder in two different cities that keep an uneasy, Israel/Palestine-style truce while inhabiting separate planes of existence in the same physical space. According to reviews, Lifeline's production makes Mieville's "impossible-to-adapt" book seem made for the theatre.

reviewed performanceCenterstage Show Review
Reviewer: Alex Huntsberger
Monday Mar 11, 2013

Most theatres might shrink from adapting a work by renowned sci-fi author China Mieville. His psychedelic, Borges-esque novels would seem to present an unconquerable challenge, at least for anyone working without a “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark” level budget. Luckily, his novel “The City in the City” is actually a story perfectly suited for the theatre. It’s a story of two cities intertwined geographically but worlds apart psychologically, whose citizens are trained to “unsee” people and places and things in the other city even if they are literally right under their nose. It’s fantasy all right, but a fantasy entirely of the mind’s eye. Director Dorothy Milne and adaptor Christopher M. Walsh’s production adopts a light touch in evoking the twin cities of Beszel and Ul Quoma. The set by Joe Schermoly is a single, Soviet slab of concrete that sets the tone and then gets out of the way. The story of Beszel police detective Inspector Borlu (Steve Schine) and his investigation into the mysterious death of an American Anthropology student is allowed to unfold briskly. Relying on Borllu’s first person narration to move the story forward, Walsh and Milne do a fine job of creating a world ruled by imagination. It is always clear that no matter what the play's characters proclaim, Bezel and Ul Quoma are more one then they could ever admit. Schine admirably carries the show on his shoulders as Borlu. He conveys a weariness laced with idealism that becomes integral as Borlu (of course) starts to take the official investigation into his own hands. Schine is aided by a strong supporting cast, notably Marsha Harman as Corwi, Borlu’s Girl Friday, Patrick Blashill as Dave Bowden, a formerly radical Anthropologist working out of Ul Quoma and especially Chris Hainsworth as Dhatt, Borlu’s sarcastic Ul Quoma counterpart. Though the show can drag a little in its first third, it picks up once Borlu’s search takes him into Ul Quoma and the truly tangled nature of this strange, yet familiar world begins to unravel.

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