This 16th Street Theater production, directed by Kevin Christopher Fox, does feature plenty of strong acting, most notably Ann Filmer’s hilarious and moving performance as a Martha Stewart-esque control freak and Brad Harbaugh’s turn as her incorrigibly gauche husband.
As Joxer, Brad Harbaugh creates some of the best laughs of the show. His physical comedy skills are excellent, and his constantly rebuffed advances toward Gabrielle are hilarious.
With impeccable accents Harbaugh delivers the leeringly geographical description of the woman who craves him.
Harbaugh and Noble are a marvelous match…and Harbaugh – as the older brother who has opted for the safe live but craves a taste of raw authenticity – is a big surprise as he morphs, entirely believably, into what may be Austin’s truer self. Highly Recommended.
Brad Harbaugh is delightfully pompous in his pre-Beast moments, appropriately ferocious as the Beast, and suitably charming in his few minutes as the reformed prince.
The acting ensemble is ingratiating and convincing in drawing Gilman’s oh-so-familiar types. I…happily noted how Gilman captures the self-centered attitudes of the Me Generation of the younger couples, nicely played by Sorin Brouwers (Jasper), Michelle Courvais (Melinda), Brad Harbaugh (Dan) and Skyler Schrempp (Windsong).
Physical and fun, Jean Adamak and Brad Harbaugh as Ellen and Cal here use Howe’s language to really connect to each other….Harbaugh is most successful when Cal’s working the floor, wanting to please all the customers, patiently balancing each table’s demands. (Anyone who’s ever waited tables will appreciate Cal’s anxiety.)
Eventually Dee is impregnated after a passionate night with the young Toilane (the tightly wound Brad Harbaugh), who wants to be her modern “knight without armor.
This is Brad Harbaugh…He is one of the best physical comedic actors in Chicago who really stands out in this show.
Brad Harbaugh takes on a variety of roles, but his most delightful turn – and arguably the highlight of the evening – is as a dancing bellhop doing a jitterbug…
Harbaugh startles us by generating sympathy for his racist, homophobic Toilane; we empathize with him even as he describes the vicious way he kicks a gay man, perhaps to death.
One of the most endearing characters is Marshael’s dim-witted brother, Leon, who has uncanny insights into life’s paradoxes…Brad Harbaugh gives Leon a genuine tender disposition that does not evoke saccharine sympathy.
There were moments when the production threatened to sparkle. Mostly at the hands of Brad Harbaugh, he of a natural talent that could not be hidden. Harbaugh has the innate sense of a comic actor without overdoing and chewing scenary. His appearances as MacBeth were welcome, and even his cameo in the final one-act was a gem of a Keystone Cop variety.
Key to its success are two young but seasoned actors, Brad Harbaugh and Paul Noble. Too often the brothers are played by performers so out of sync with each other that they don’t seem like members of the same species, much less the same family. But with these two, every glance and gesture and word they exchange seethes with a lifetime of unfinished business. Critic’s Choice.
This is a sharply paced and well-acted production that benefits greatly from the intimacy of its venue…Harbaugh brings emotional immediacy to the role.
...Some of the supporting players push too hard...
Adamak gets her picture right, though she hasn’t found a clean ending for the play. She’s found the right cast, however: Michele DiMaso is a stitch as the chirpy/ creepy Rebecca, and Kara Pasierb is engagingly earnest as the hopeful Jesse. Add Justine Serino’s down-to-earth Claire, Kim Wade’s fiery Cassie, and Brad Harbaugh’s cocky Dexter, and you’ve got five folks worth seeing.
Brad Harbaugh, ably straddling the fine line between innocuous and insufferable as a parent-to-be who is still a child in many respects