By Jackson Riley
Crystal Skillman's Another Kind of Love, a Chicago premiere, promises a fusion of theatre and live punk rock. And though music isn't nearly as integral to the production as they'd have you think, you still feel like you're being blasted by the loud speakers in the front row.
The play begins with three women coming together for the first time in years. Formerly known as The Dark Hearts, the group has decided to let bygones be bygones and reunite for one night only - the fifteenth anniversary of their mother's death. Kit (Annie Prichard) returns after a troubled (but successful) turn at a solo career. Tanya (Courtney Jones) chose the responsible life, raising her daughter, Max (Alison Hixon), out of the spotlight. Max, unsurprisingly, idolizes Kit and desperately wants to share her original songs with the world, much to her mother's dismay. The other sister, Collin (Amber Kelly), doesn't get a backstory nearly as fleshed out as her sisters, often acting as nothing more than the unwilling participant in every argument.
If you're expecting a musical, you may feel lost. Most enjoyable are the small featured moments of rehearsal, though the sound levels are often a bit chaotic, making it hard to hear Crystal Skillman's excellent (if underdeveloped) script. At times, the play feels very August: Osage County, but after the tenth or twelfth big secret is revealed, it becomes apparent that Skillman couldn't decide which dramatic elements to include (drug addiction, adultery, scandal, mistaken identity) so she opted to throw them all into the pot. These elements almost land with a bit of suspension of disbelief - I mean, they are rock musicians - but a less convoluted script would leave a more lasting impression.
The cast, overall, turns in fantastic work. I'd say this may be the best ensemble I've seen in a while, and the hardworking team elevates the basic (and somewhat awkward) staging and misguided set design to make the entire play run smoothly despite being twenty minutes too long. If you're in the mood for a bit of live music, a couple great performances and some female badassery onstage - you'll want to see Another Kind of Love.
Another Kind of Love runs at The Chopin Theatre through June 14th. More information: http://www.infusiontheatre.com/another-kind-of-love.html