Review: Remarkably able moments in Gift Theatre's 'Richard III' - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Published on March 08, 2016

Review: Remarkably able moments in Gift Theatre's 'Richard III'

by Chris Jones

As fans of the Gift Theatre well know, Michael Patrick Thornton is a remarkable actor. His talent partly derives from his fascinating vocal energy. He offers up flat, conversational intimacy with an unvarnished Chicago accent, but it's interrupted by bursts of wholly unpredictable energy and layered with an improvisational combination of certitude, superiority and emotional intensity. He resembles Kevin Spacey as much as any other actor working today.

Unlike Spacey, though, who talks of sending the elevator back down to help young actors, Thornton has been obliged to remain permanently seated on stage, being as he is an actor in a wheelchair, the result of a spinal stroke years ago. Throughout his subsequent career, Thornton has used that chair, or, more specifically, the persona of him in that chair, as part of a body of fascinating dramatic characters, mostly realized just a skid mark or two away from the paying customers.

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