BWW Review: SIX CORNERS at American Blues Theater

BWW Review: SIX CORNERS at American Blues Theater

When you see a show that takes place in the city where you live, the references to everything from locations, culture, and statistics can make it more impactful. Keith Huff does that for Chicagoans who will see a slice of their city in his new play, "Six Corners."

The work, now in production by American Blues Theater, is the third in Huff's police trilogy. It follows "A Steady Rain", which had a successful Broadway run starring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. That was followed by "The Detective's Wife" which ran at Writer's Theatre in 2011. Huff is also an Emmy nominated producer with several television writing credits including work on "House of Cards" and "Mad Men."

Most of the story takes place over the course of one night. It opens on Detectives Bernadette Perez (Monica Orozco) and Nick Moroni (Peter DeFaria) working late on a homicide that happened on a CTA platform. As they discuss the case, we sense some sexual tension and hear of alleged past harassment. Their relationships and home lives are discussed in some detail, but the opening scene feels a bit long and disconnected from what follows.

As we watch them move through the night their ethics and styles come into view. That view, however, is blurred by the opening storyline which fades into the following scenes. We see how they work together, but never really buy into the more personal connection that is alluded to throughout the piece.

As the detectives banter, we get a glimpse of two witnesses to the crime - Amanda Brackett (Brenda Barrie) and Carter Hutch (Manny Buckley). They are waiting to be questioned and it's clear that they know each other. This detail is later fleshed out but may have been more intriguing had we not been tipped off. Their connection to each other and the crime is the plot twist where "Six Corners" seems to get interesting. However, it gets bogged down in messages on corrupt police, racial injustice, and revenge. These are all certainly valid, but none of them ever feels fully fleshed out.

Flashback scenes between BJ Lyles (Byron Glenn Willis) and Katie Yates (Lyric Sims) give some context for the crime. There is a nice authenticity in their scenes and the actors make the most of their limited stage time.

Gary Griffin's direction is full of good intentions but is hampered by some of the dialogue, scene changes, and uneven performances. While impressive in view, Joe Schermoly's set does little to enhance the storytelling.

"Six Corners" may appeal to true crime enthusiasts who like trying to piece together a timeline. It leaves a few breadcrumbs of vague intrigue for some conversation after it ends. It might work better edited down to a one-hour episode of crime TV. For the average audience-goer, it does not really give enough to fully invest in on a deep level.

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SIX CORNERS runs through March 24 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets are available at AmericanBluesTheater.org or by calling (773) 327-5252.

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