Last night, I attended Bull in a China Shop by playwright Bryna Turner. It follows the lives of Mary Woolley and her partner, Jeanette Marks, as they attempt to reform women’s education in the turn of the twentieth century. The story follows the growth of the women’s suffrage movement as well as Woolley and Marks romantic relationship.
This play was a complex array of things. It blended comedy, romance, and drama – all in a feminist storyline. At times it was a lot going on, but the underlying story was one I was glad to hear.
Director Keira Fromm put together a show with flawless scene changes and perfect timing that makes the show fly by. It followed a rhythm that made the story compelling to follow. The monologues performed directly to the audience made you feel as though you were more than just an observer of the show.
The set for the show was simple but delivered the exact purpose the show needed. It was done beautifully and straightforwardly so it did not distract from the story taking place.
The performance by Kelli Simpkins, who played Mary Woolley, is reason enough to see this show. Simpkins delivered a strong and beautiful performance that made the audience feel for her every thought and emotion. Her monologues were delivered with a power and grace, which was inspiring.
Another outstanding performer was Aurora Adachi-Winter. Adachi-Winter plays a student named Pearl, who offers much of the comedic aspect of this play. Pearl was dramatic and funny, but at no point did it seem overacted or unbelievable. She was a pleasure to watch.
If you are looking to branch out, are already a fan of feminist theatre, or just want to hear a good story, I recommend going to see this play.
Bull in a China Shop runs through July 1st with shows Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Sundays at the Theatre Wit, located 1229 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657. For tickets visit aboutfacetheatre.com