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A critic’s look at 1990’s ‘Iceman Cometh’

Brian Dennehy starred as Theodore “Hickey” Hickman (opposite Jerome Kilty as Harry) Goodman Theatre’s 1990 producti“The Iceman Cometh.” | SUN-TIMES

Brian Dennehy starred as Theodore “Hickey” Hickman (opposite Jerome Kilty as Harry) in the Goodman Theatre’s 1990 production of “The Iceman Cometh.” | SUN-TIMES FILE PHOTO

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Updated: April 25, 2012 10:15PM

The following is an excerpt from Sun-Times Theater Critic Hedy Weiss’ 1990 review of the Robert Falls-directed revival of “The Iceman Cometh,” which starred Brian Dennehy as Hickey.

“The first major Chicago revival of O’Neill’s 1939 play since the original national tour came to the city in 1947, Falls’ version proves revelatory in its embrace of the play’s wildly contradictory tones. The play is at once grand, drunkenly poetic and Walt Whitman-like in its empathy for the human predicament, and as desolate, absurd and laser-sharp as any landscape etched by Samuel Beckett. Falls shows how these two strains converge.

“As corrosive as rotgut whiskey, as morbidly funny as a funeral gone amok, as hallucinatory as an alcohol-fueled excursion into purgatory, O’Neill’s voluptuously written play is about the living dead — the derelicts and losers who gather in Harry Hope’s End of the Line Cafe.”

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