Review: Theories of the Sun (Sideshow Theatre)

Yep, it is possible to laugh at Death


TheoriesoftheSun-01 (2)

Sideshow Theatre presents
Theories of the Sun
Written by Kathleen Akerley
Directed by Jonathan L. Green and Megan A. Smith
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map)
through October 3rd  |  tickets: $15- $20  |  more info

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

Where does Death take a holiday? Apparently, a remote hotel in France! Sideshow Theatre presents the Midwestern premiere of Theories of the Sun. A mother and daughter duo seek medical advice from a quirky doctor. The doctor is in residence at a boutique inn. Also vacationing at the locale are a couple of playwrights, a scotch- infused Tennessee Williams and a frothy-wine sipping Tom Stoppard. Another hotel guest, Mr. Asher, collects theories about the sun from different cultures. Looming invisibly to most of the guests, Death waits for someone. Theories of the Sun is a mysterious gathering of a hodge-podge of characters. Each confronts TheoriesoftheSun-02Death and puts in a special order for preferred exit timing. Despite the primary storyline being the unusual circumstances surrounding the mother and daughter, its boys’ night! Individually and collectively, the guys overshadow with eclipsing humor and vibrant movement. Sideshow Theatre’s Theories of the Sun proves the hypothesis that is possible to laugh at Death.

Directed by Jonathan L. Green and Megan A. Smith, with choreographer Katie Spelman, theories of the sun are illuminated with poetic, fluid motion. The synchronization is the bright spot to the story. A game of blindman’s bluff is an effervescent dance with Death. The ensemble, sporting a variety of accents, is dazzling. Matt Fletcher (Stoppard) delivers his British wit with a droll smugness. Uttering lines like ‘being not in tune,’ Fletcher is hilarious as an insipid playwright caught up in semantics. Andy Luther (Williams) plays it perfectly understated as the southern-speaking, unapologetic drunk. Luther’s face-off with Death is a deliciously defiant monologue of fearlessness that unexpectedly ends in tenderness. Jesse Young (Dr. Giraud) is hysterical as an eccentric doctor conducting a series of odd tests. Young deadpans ludicrous statements for riotous results. The storyteller of sun theories, Dylan Stuckey (Asher) is most engaging when he silently reacts to other characters. The entire cast revolves around Death in stunning visuals in a mime-type ballet and exquisite fifties finery (Costume Designer David Hyman).


TheoriesoftheSun-03 TheoriesoftheSun-04 TheoriesoftheSun-05 TheoriesoftheSun-06

Playwright Kathleen Akerley has penned a life-and-death tale with eclectic characters. Although the mother-daughter storyline loses some of its luster from recently being Hollywood-ized, Akerley’s provides intrigue in her other character choices and surprising twists. Theories of the Sun is a thought-provoking, entertaining dance to the death. With the finale’s hindsight, you’ll want to relive it for Death’s subtle entrance.

Rating: ★★★

Running Time: Two hours and thirty minutes includes a thirty minute intermission

Nora Dunn and her buddy Jesse Young



SHOW SIDENOTE: “Saturday Night Live” alum Nora Dunn was in the audience on opening night. Pictured here with her buddy, Jesse Young 





Production Personnel


StoppardMatt Fletcher*
The Proprietor
Andrew Marikis
Dr. GiraudJesse Young
The American
Michael Mercier
WilliamsAndy Luther
Barbara Sweeny Susie Griffith
Elizabeth Sweeny Scottie Caldwell*
Mr. Asher Dylan Stuckey


Creative and Production Team

PlaywrightKathleen Akerley
DirectorsJonathan L. Green* and Megan A. Smith*
Production Stage ManagerNavid Afshar
Scenic DesignerEric Luchen
Costume Designer David Hyman
Lighting DesignerJordan Kardasz
Sound Designer/ComposerChristopher M. LaPorte*
ChoreographerKatie Spelman
Properties DesignerAngela M. Campos
Technical DirectorKyle Gettelman
DramaturgGina Di Salvo
Dialect CoachJamie Abelson
Master ElectricianFred Uebele
Assistant Stage ManagerMeg Lindsey
Assistant Scenic DesignerNadia Garofalo
Production AssistantEmily Darlington Cooke
ProducerSideshow Theatre Company


FYI: personnel list and links courtesy of Sideshow’s website.


3 WORDS: Always looking for the bright spot in her analytical world, Jasleen describes the show with “out of time.”


Conveniently located across from Theater Wit, Coopers, 1232 W. Belmont, offers free parking and, more importantly, nightly specials. My hypothesis is that to survive the recession, restaurants need to give financial incentives to pick their locale. On Thursday night, Coopers offers ½ price pizzas. We go two for one by ordering up the truffle mushroom and the spinach. Both tasty, the truffle mushroom was far superior. My guess is it might have something to do with the slightly burnt crust on the spinach version. My own supposition is we paid for the delicious pizza and got the burnt one for free. With that assumption, I happily head over to experience other theories in life.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: