Wednesday February 20 3:15 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

London 'Below' is a Strange and Dangerous Place Where Nothing makes Sense - in "Neverwhere"


Richard Mayhew (Jose Nateras), a Scot transplanted to England, has a boring but safe job in a bank, a flat, money in the bank and a snobbish fiancée named Jessica (Michaela Petro). One night, on the way into a restaurant for a very important dinner with Jessica’s father, he finds a wounded girl outside. When he stops to help her, his whole life comes to a screeching halt - in a very ‘through the looking glass’ way.

Richard takes the girl, whose name is Door (Samantha Newcomb), back to his flat. Door, running for her life, scatters bread crumbs on the window sill to call for help. When help arrives - in the form of a very large rat (puppet), Richard throws a book at it. Door informs him that he’s offended Lord Rat-Speaker and must apologize. After conversing with Lord Rat-Speaker, Door thanks Richard for saving her life; and leaves. Soon after, he’s roughed up by Mr. Croup (John Henry Roberts) and Mr. Vandemar (LaQuin Groves), a pair of nattily-dressed, but very creepy assassins who are looking for Door.

Richard wakes up the next morning, he’s invisible, his life has been erased. Someone else lives in his flat, at work, no one can even see him. Desperate to get his life back, he calls for Lord Rat-Speaker. When he’s explained his plight, the king rat assigns a Rat-Speaker named Anaesthesia (Michaela Petro) as a guide.
As he follows Anaesthesia, he learns that London (and every other city in the world) is divided into ‘above’ and ‘below.’ (We humans live our lives ‘above’ never suspecting there is a whole world ‘below’). Lady Door’s London ‘below’ is a strange and dangerous place where nothing makes sense.

Eventually, Richard meets up with Lady Door (she has a title in London ‘below’). She’s still running from Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, who murdered her family. Marquis de Carabas (Matthew Singleton) agreed to help her get to Islington (Michael Reyes), the man her father told her to trust.

By the way, Gaiman has cleverly altered famous London Tube stops, such as Earl’s Court, Knightsbridge, Old Bailey, and Islington to fit the fantasy.

Also appearing: Aneisa Hicks (Hunter & ensemble) and Dave Skvaria (Old Bailey, The Earl & Ensemble).

Kauzlaric’s adaptation of “Neverwhere” wasn’t the first, but it has become the adaptation of choice.
Neil Gaiman actually went to see “Neverwhere” during the 2010 run. He said, “The Chicago Lifeline theatre production of Neverwhere is, I can say, now having seen it, absolutely WONDERFUL… Inventive, faithful, funny”.

In December, 2010, it was produced in Ireland by a theatre company called Croi8 Productions in Galway. Since then it has been staged in England (London, Reading, Halifax, Kingston-upon-Hull), Canada (Calgary), Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Seattle, Portland, and at least a dozen more cities.

“Neverwhere” runs through July 15th at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. Free parking is available at Sullivan High School, 6631 N. Bosworth Ave. (lot located on Albion Ave., just east of Bosworth) with free shuttle service before and after the show.

Running time is approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes, with an intermission. Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 4:00 and 8:00 pm; and Sundays at 4:00 pm. Lifeline Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Audio Described/Touch Tour performance, Sunday, June 24th. Open Captioned performance, Saturday, June 16th at 4:00 pm and Friday, July 13th at 7:30 pm. Tickets range from $20-$40. FYI (773) 761-4477 or