Theater review: Northlight’s ‘Intimate Apparel’ is an beautiful material

One could imagine the perform Intimate Attire at Northlight Theatre is about a Black seamstress…

One could imagine the perform Intimate Attire at Northlight Theatre is about a Black seamstress who would make intimate apparel for rich white shoppers, but it is about so a great deal far more.

The sewing that goes on is the personal placing collectively of a social cloth that addresses the query: Can you be what you aren’t to get what you wish for?

The response adjustments throughout the enjoy (which closes May possibly 15 at the North Shore Middle for the Performing Arts in Skokie), but one particular factor is regular. The acting is exquisite, a theatrical satisfaction. And pretty an accomplishment considering the associations of the people to Esther, the light and innocent 35-calendar year-old seamstress, are all not likely and unexpectedly intimate.

Esther (Mildred Marie Langford) has a complicated purpose. She wants to charm to all the figures of unique races and distinct backgrounds and the viewers wants to settle for her interactions. Langford allows us really feel her innocence and her vulnerability.

Mrs. Dickson (Felicia P. Fields) rents Esther a place that comes with totally free and primarily unwelcome assistance: “Talk and a nickel will invest in you 5 cents of trouble,” she tells Esther. Fields plays her role with a mix of motherly notice and harsh doses of actuality. When Esther asks her why she places up with her ne’er-do-perfectly husband, she tells her, “I forgive him his infatuation with opiates due to the fact he has this rooming residence.”

Mildred Marie Langford (left) as Esther and Rebecca Spence as Mrs. Van Buren. Credit rating: Liz Lauren

Mrs. Van Buren (Rebecca Spence), a white, wealthy and unhappily married shopper confides in Esther far more than Esther bargains for. Spence, most usually found in a flamboyant corset produced by Esther, carries off her wish to be captivating with a desperation that invitations sympathy and exposes racial insensitivity.

Mayme (Rashada Dawan) is the prostitute who academics Esther more about lifetime than she needs to know. Dawan’s flamboyance fills the stage with exuberance and an inevitable dose of truth.  

Esther’s romance with Mr. Marks (Sean Fortunato), the orthodox Jewish cloth service provider, is the only one particular based on prevalent passions, which are hopelessly difficult to satisfy since of who they the two are. He loves wonderful cloth, as does Esther, but he tells her, “I use the black fabric of my father’s accommodate [instead of the beautiful fabric he loves and sells] to maintain my marriage with my ancestors.” Fortunato is the learn of gesture. He performs these a light soul.