If you are a fan “Just Murders in the Building” The comedy-mystery series on Hulu is likely to follow Lucille Fletcher’s “Night Watch,” a lively mystery-thriller also set in a luxury Manhattan apartment but now performing at Chicago’s intimate and affordable Raven Theater you will like it.
Here’s a New Yorker named Elaine having trouble sleeping. While her husband tries to calm her down, she walks inside her apartment towards a window. Suddenly she screams: The window frames the body of a dead man sitting on a chair in an apartment across the street. The couple calls the police but they cannot find a body. And then things get intense from there: One visible corpse easily leads to another.
Why does the woman see what she sees? What is her husband’s role? What about his best friend? Are the police telling the truth? What exactly is going on in the flat across the road?
And I have to stand there so I don’t break anything.
These questions are many enough to keep you busy for several hours. “Night Watch,” which has much in common with “Rear Window” and other noir entertainment experiences, actually dates from 1972. As such, she embraces many of the psychological stereotypes of the period: a potentially unstable leading lady (Aila Ayilam Peck), a cold-blooded husband (Kroydell Galima), a psychiatrist who can be malevolent or simply condescending (Kathy Scambiatterra), a cantankerous cop (Christopher Meister). , a controversial best friend/other woman (Jodi Gage) and a colorful single guy who walks in. and out of the action (Matthew Martinez Hannon).
Director Georgette Verdin leans into all of this, with the help of Mara Ishihara Zinky’s witty set. He found a very entertaining and talented cast; half of them enjoy transforming into minor characters as the script demands.
“Night Watch” is no great masterpiece, but the late Fletcher, who wrote for “The Twilight Zone” and also wrote the famous radio play “Sorry, Wrong Number,” certainly knew how to create a mystery. And at this point, at least, “Night Watch” has the advantage of being a little-known series compared to “Sleuth,” “Deathtrap” and similar psychological thrillers, which have a bad habit of throwing out half-forgotten plots. Getting back to your head while having fun.
Despite the excellent casting of the 1973 movie starring Elizabeth Taylor, that’s not the case for most in “Night Watch.” The original game version still works, runs nicely on Raven, and seems to keep everyone in the building guessing.
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Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.
Review: “Night Watch” (3 stars)
When: Until November 12
Where: Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St.
Working time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Tickets: $35-45 raventheatre.com