"The Girl in the Yellow Dress" (Next Theatre): Simplistically, Complex Stunner!

"The Girl in the Yellow Dress" (Next Theatre):  Simplistically, Complex Stunner!

#16.  So this guy approached me in the dairy section of the grocery store.  Initially, he asked me my favorite yogurt brand.  I brushed it off with ‘whatever I have a coupon for’ and kept moving down the aisle.  He started following me.  He said that he had been noticing me in the neighborhood.  He preferred when I didn’t wear glasses. He liked my hair down.  In the checkout lane, he said that he was certain that I had noticed him too and that we should go out.  I had never seen this guy in my life.  I shut him down with my standard ‘I’m pre-engaged.’   Walking home, I looked around to see if anyone was watching me.  I was completely creeped out.  Unrelated but luckily, the Dominick’s burned down and I moved.

Next Theatre presents the United States premiere of THE GIRL IN THE YELLOW DRESS.  Celia is an English-as-a-second-language tutor.  Pierre is her new student.  He got her number from her flyer.  The weird part is she hasn’t put up flyers in a long time.  What’s Pierre’s story anyway?  Celia instructs him to disclose personal information.  Whether imaginary or factual, Celia believes sharing anecdotes is skill-building language technique.  Pierre pushes  Celia to reveal her own secrets.  At first glance, these two look like any tutor and student.   As they get to know each other, it’s a lesson in depth perception.  THE GIRL IN THE YELLOW DRESS is a simplistically complex stunner.

Playwright Craig Higginson has penned a smart script.  An English woman and an African-Parisian man connect over past and present tenses.  The conversations translate with wit and authenticity.  Higginson weaves an ongoing tutorial throughout the real life lessons.  Under the precise direction of Joanie Schultz, the synergy between Carrie Coon (Celia) and Austin Talley (Pierre) feels real.  The characters’ walls go up, down, up, down with an organic fluidity.  British accented Coon is natural.  Brilliantly! It feels like WE are the stalkers in her stylish living room (Scenic Designers Jacqueline and Rick Penrod).  And instead of respecting her privacy, we continue to gawk.  She is droll, flirty and quirky.  She continues to be elusive right into the finale.   Talley transforms from shy to guy to guy-guy in a few easy sessions   The French-accented Talley intrigues with his own mysterious agenda.  His private lessons are the kindling to ignite a passionate love affair.  Ooh-la-la!  If love had an instruction booklet, these guys bought in..to it.  Both the French and English versions.  But even following directions, can they make it work?  This duo’s love affair captivates with refreshing intimate honesty.

The Penrods have created my dream home.  Stylish, sleek and adorned with books and interesting artwork.  Diane Fairchild lights it up beautifully!  The scene transitions are illuminated with a fascinating cadence.  It’s the ultimate glam apartment complete with attractive lighting.  This show was linguistically delightful!  J’ai adore’ la fille qui portait la robe jaune!!!

Running Time:  Ninety minutes with no intermission.

At Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston

Written by Craig Higginson

Directed by Joanie Schultz

Thursdays at 7:30pm

Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm

Saturdays at 4pm (2/4, 2/11. 2/18, 2/25)

Sundays at 2pm

Thru February 26th

Buy Tickets at www.nexttheatre.org

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