A break in the weather for one thing. Five performances have been ruined by the deluge of biblical proportions that has settled in over the Chicago area since, oh, March. Festival’s outdoor theater productions in Austin Gardens have always been vulnerable to the vagaries of nature’s whims (Shakespeare no doubt had a thing or two to say about that), but this is unusual. Plus they always have to deal with the flight patterns from O’Hare. Planes just love flying directly over Austin Gardens, in all directions. Plus, Lake Street has been dug up in front of the new Albion high-rise and the holes covered by heavy metal plates, so as traffic drives over them it sounds like a non-stop fireworks display in the background. Hate to complain, but … come on!

What’s worse is that Festival has a terrific non-Shakespeare play, Elizabeth Rex, which is Jeff Recommended to boot. You may need your boots, but if you want to support the arts, this is a worthwhile place to start. There are three weekends left. The production runs Thursdays through Sundays (weather permitting) through July 20 (Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing follows in July and August).

If the sky looks clear any of those nights, definitely go. Maybe the village will remove the metal panels by then.

Ken Trainor


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