SPARK –  Berger Park Cultural Center  6205 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL  773-761-0376

Let’s just say that Caridad Svich’s 2012 play is an earnest, angry, tedious thing that takes cliches about poor but strong Appalachian women, mixes them up with familiar tropes about the suffering of the returning warrior, and—well, that’s pretty much it. Just mixes them up. Evelyn is the bossy older sister who thinks she has to be hard for the family’s sake; Ali is the baby sister with dreams; and Lexie is the troubled vet self-medicating on the cheap with beer. They fight a lot, usually invoking their dead mama. There’s some backwoods mysticism and a guy named Hector who insists that he loves prickly Evelyn, though who knows why. Then everybody reconciles: again, who knows why.

Q-tips say:  We did enjoy this musical play.  There are still fine tuning it at this moment but it does have many good parts. The Q’s especially enjoyed the young man & elder man’s acting and singing. Decent voices all around.  They do need to trim it a bit because the play now runs over 2 hours with a 10 min. intermission. The two moms parts could be cut down to make this more enjoyable- no eliminated, but trimmed. The tickets at this moment were complimentary with a service fee, but soon they will not be. A nice twist at the end and again this could be called “new age.”  The young man has two moms, and the elder man is gay and suffered in his family life because of it.