Many words have been used to describe William Kunstler—radical, controversial, terrorist, self-hating Jew—but subtle has never been one of them. So it's understandable that Chicago playwright Jeffrey Sweet has taken a blunt approach to this biodrama of the legendary late attorney. At an unnamed law school a few months before his death, Kunstler (Nick Wyman) gives a humor-laden speech tracking his highs (defending the Chicago Seven, negotiating with rioters at Attica, counseling Martin Luther King Jr.) and glossing over his narcissistic lows (representing mobster John Gotti). The play avoids didacticism, thanks in large part to Broadway vet Wyman's breathtaking (and breathless—seriously, he never shuts up) performance. Meticulously researched by the author and directed by real-life Kunstler friend Meagen Fay, the show has an air of authenticity until a pat 11th-hour confrontation between Kunstler and African-American student Kerry (Gillian Glasco), who takes issue with some of his actions. Her conflicted feelings for this flawed American hero are more palpable and fun when she just sits onstage, rolling her eyes at his old-man jokes.—Raven Snook
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