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Steep’s New Play Is a Sci-fi Thriller With a Dose Of Dark Comedy

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“You have to stop romanticizing people,” Ben, the chief villain in Alistair McDowall’s new play, tells Greg, another, younger character who is blinded by Ben’s wealth and power. “People aren’t so important.”

Yet if London-based Ben uses cringe-worthy methods to become Middlesbrough, UK’s newest drug lord, his rival, Luke, sees another way forward. And even if Luke appears weak, stuttering through his worldview in a seemingly slow, seemingly obtuse way, it’s only because he wields power responsibly.

“Brilliant Adventures” is Steep Theatre Co.’s newest play and playwright McDowall’s U.S. premiere. The sci-fi thriller with elements of dark comedy is built around one family’s devolution and Luke’s efforts, when pushed, to do what he can to change the future.

“There are no rules in theatre,” McDowall said in a press release. “You can do anything. Whatever rules there are, you can break them — immediately, if you want to.”

That’s a position that aptly applies to director and Steep Ensemble member Robin Witt’s capable efforts to tell a story about brotherly love that hints at past mistakes. Witt guides Luke (played by Curtis Edward Jackson and Ty Olwin), Greg (played by Brandon Rivera), Rob (played by Ryan McBride), Man (played by Will Kinnear) and Ben (played by Peter Moore) in a well-acted, intimate portrayal of a family doing its best to survive in a part of the United Kingdom with the highest death rate, lowest property values, greatest male unemployment, most housing repossessions, least disposable income and weakest broadband signals of anywhere in the nation.

“Brilliant Adventures” opened on July 9 and is the final show for Steep Theatre’s 14th season. Steep Theatre is located at 1115 W. Berwyn Ave. The play takes place Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and on Sundays at 3 p.m., until Aug. 15.

General admission tickets are $25. For more information, call 866-811-4111, or visit www.steeptheatre.com.


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