Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Review of Irish Theatre of Chicago's Spinning

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Spinning. It was by Deirdre Kinahan and it was directed by Joanie Schultz. It was about a man named Conor (Dan Waller) who had just gotten out of prison after killing Susan's (Jodi Kingsley) daughter, Annie (Tyler Meredith). He comes back to talk to Susan about his life and what he has done and how he feels like he didn't actually kill Annie. The show is about forgiveness, family, and wanting to change the past. I thought that this was a great show. I thought that it was very moving and I really enjoyed it.

I really liked the way that Tyler Meredith showed the way that Annie changed around different people. With her mom she seems a little bit more carefree and less like she needs to live up to something. With Conor she tries to be more grownup but you can see the strain that she is going through. Another difference is that when she is around Conor she would smoke, but she would always try to be a good girl around her mom. It seems like she was a good daughter, but she would do things away from her mom that weren't nice to her body. She seems to try to be more badass when she's not with her mom. It really shows in the acting that Annie is trying to be a different person.

This show uses a heck of a ton of flashbacks and it is for a good reason because there is a lot of exposition you need to understand what is happening with Susan and Conor. It was always clear to me when the flashbacks were happening which is very important. One of my favorites was when Susan was at a carnival or a fair and this is when she first meets Conor. She talks about her friend who is on the Ferris wheel like her friend is kind of a jerk and like she, Annie, doesn't need friends. She's doing that because she wants to impress Conor. And when she is with her mom you see more how important her friend is to her because she doesn't just stop being friends with her even when Annie's crush says he likes her friend better. Another of my favorite flashbacks was a scene between Annie and Susan where Annie is trying to curl Susan's hair because Susan is going to a party. And you see that they are not just mother and daughter; they are also great friends. There is another flashback where Conor and Jen (Carolyn Kruse) have a fight about how Conor really wants to have another kid and you really see how much power Jen has over Conor. And you also get to see how their relationship is melting away and it is very sad. Even though I wasn't very sure that they were a good match, it is very sad to see their relationship turn into something that they don't want anymore.

If you don't want to know anything about the end of the play, don't read this next paragraph! There was something of a mystery at the end of the show where you don't really know if Conor is lying to Susan about what Annie thought about her. I cried at the end because of the beautiful way Conor talked about Annie's death. But you don't know if he is actually telling the truth. Even if it isn't true, it shows that he wants to make Susan feel better, which is very touching. It leaves the audience thinking which is always a good thing. I think it was a good idea not to show the death in a flashback because I feel like that would have taken away some of the emotion. Storytelling makes it less gruesome and more heartfelt than showing it. I absolutely loved that kind of ending to the show. I thought it was sad and beautiful at the same time.

People who would like this show are people who like sweet mother-daughter relationships, flashbacks, and Ferris wheels. I think that people should definitely go see this show. I thought it was an amazing script and the acting was great. I really loved it.

Photos: Emily Schwartz

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