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Allison Torem is the Reason to See Lookingglass’s New Play, Trust

Whether you think Trust, a new play that opened Saturday at the Lookingglass Theatre, is a wallop-packing drama about cyberstalking or a made-for-television issues-movie poorly translated to the stage, Allison Torem is coming in for some universal praise…

Allison Torem (right) plays Annie in Trust at Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago
Torem (right) plays Annie in a wrenching new drama about cyber-predators, with Philip R. Smith as her father

 

You’ll never look at your iPhone the same way again

THEATRE Whether you think Trust, a new play that opened Saturday at the Lookingglass Theatre, is a wallop-packing drama about cyberstalking or a made-for-television issues-movie poorly translated to the stage, Allison Torem is coming in for some universal praise. Torem plays Annie, a 14-year-old New Trier student lured into a rape by a middle-aged man posing as a teenager online; her character descends into a sullen rage as her family struggles to absorb the crime and the FBI gets involved to find the serial pedophile. The wonder of Torem’s performance is that it never hides behind the plot—she remains achingly vulnerable to the end. You may have already seen this rising star; the 19-year-old Whitney Young graduate has tackled big parts in recent shows, including a 2008 production of Neil LaBute’s In a Dark Dark House and a 2009 production of Lee Blessing’s Great Falls, both at Profiles Theatre. (She also plays Annie in the coming movie version of Trust, with Clive Owen as the father.) Catch her now before she flies away.

GO: Thru May 9. $35-$65. Water Tower Water Works, 821 N Michigan, 312-337-0665.

WHAT THE CRITICS THOUGHT OF TRUST
  • The Chicago Tribune review by Chris Jones, 3/14:
    “. . . On some primal level, this show just works. Pieces like this often fly in the face of what is most valued in the arts establishment. Much claptrap about risk is spoken in the theater. Sometimes the biggest risk of all is to create clear, accessible shows about life as it as actually lived. And a passionate point of view can be riskier than a metaphor. [THREE AND A HALF STARS OUT OF FOUR]”
  • The Chicago Sun-Times review by Hedy Weiss, 3/15:
    “Torem, the uncannily gifted 19-year-old actress who made such an indelible mark with her work at Profiles Theatre, . . . gives a stage-burning turn here. She is raw and ready and blisteringly honest at every turn. . . . RECOMMENDED.”
  • The Chicago Theater Blog review by Catey Sullivan, 3/14:
    “The taut, 90-minute drama also knocks the foundation out from under the fallacy that allows wealthy, stable and loving families to believe they are immune to tragedies like the one that unfolds in Trust. [THREE AND A HALF STARS OUT OF FOUR]”
  • Time Out Chicago’s review by Kris Vire, 3/15:
    “The authors put up a collection of empty signposts about the sexualization of youth . .  . They also drop a number of hyperspecific cultural references (Zac Efron, Robert Pattinson, Entourage) that seem intended to prove they know modern youth but only serve to make this new work feel instantly dated. [TWO STARS OUT OF FIVE]”
  • The Variety review by Steven Oxman, 3/15:
    “David Schwimmer co-wrote and co-directed the piece after having devoted himself to the cause of rape prevention, and while Trust isn’t devoid of predictability or awkwardness, the show pays meticulous attention to the emotional arcs of its leading characters.”

 

photograph: sean williams

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