'The Iceman Cometh' ✭✭✭ 1/2

They don't talk the language of chemical addiction in Harry Hope's New York saloon, a place where the denizens have fallen as far as anyone can fall in this world, save for that one final tumble. In Eugene O'Neill's day, boozing to mind-numbing excess was seen as a character flaw, a weakness, a pastime of men who've left the field for the grandstand and find themselves damned either way. But despite this great American drama's existential themes ¿ its conclusions about how, when forcibly shorn of our self-delusional pipe dreams, we're all in danger of jumping off the fire escape ¿ bottles of alcohol are characters as potent as Larry Slade, "Jimmy Tomorrow" and the rest of the gang. Their end-of-the-line cafe has popped up on the stage of the Goodman Theatre in honor of director Robert Falls' closely detailed, formatively rich and relentless demanding production of "The Iceman Cometh," starring the very complicated duo of Brian Dennehy and Nathan Lane and a formidably intense ensemble of world-class actors whose demons rage before you for close to five hours. -- Chris Jones<br><br><b>Through June 17 at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St.; $61-$133 at 312-443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org</b>
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( May 17, 2012 )

They don't talk the language of chemical addiction in Harry Hope's New York saloon, a place where the denizens have fallen as far as anyone can fall in this world, save for that one final tumble. In Eugene O'Neill's day, boozing to mind-numbing excess was seen as a character flaw, a weakness, a pastime of men who've left the field for the grandstand and find themselves damned either way. But despite this great American drama's existential themes ¿ its conclusions about how, when forcibly shorn of our self-delusional pipe dreams, we're all in danger of jumping off the fire escape ¿ bottles of alcohol are characters as potent as Larry Slade, "Jimmy Tomorrow" and the rest of the gang. Their end-of-the-line cafe has popped up on the stage of the Goodman Theatre in honor of director Robert Falls' closely detailed, formatively rich and relentless demanding production of "The Iceman Cometh," starring the very complicated duo of Brian Dennehy and Nathan Lane and a formidably intense ensemble of world-class actors whose demons rage before you for close to five hours. -- Chris Jones

Through June 17 at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St.; $61-$133 at 312-443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org

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