Mar 27

Hope Is Not Dead at 24: “The Little Dog Laughed”


Presented by
Take Your Pick Productions
By Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by Cassandra Lovering

March 24 – April 7, 2017
Plaza Black Box Theater
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA

Trigger warning – brief but not inconsiderable penis

Review by Kitty Drexel

Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon,
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.”
-an English nursery rhyme.

(Boston, MA) The Little Dog Laughed spins heteronormative Hollywood on its ass. It unmasks the romantic comedy paradigm and reveals the festering truths wriggling underneath the surface of lies. It does so sweetly, calmly, but so honestly.   Continue reading

Mar 27

“Sinners (The English Teacher)”: You can’t cross the same river twice

Photo by CHARLES MCATEER

Presented by: Greensboro Arts Alliance & Residency/The Mirror Theater, Ltd. in collaboration with New Repertory Theatre and Boston Center for American Performance
By Joshua Sobol
Directed by Brian Cox

March 23 – April 2, 2017
Theatre Lab@855
855 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA)“Sinners” tells the story of the condemned English professor Layla (Nicole Ansari), as she awaits execution by stoning for having had an affair with her student, Nur (Ben Getz). The unnamed theocracy in which the story takes place has clear parallels to modern day Saudi Arabia. However, Layla’s characterization relies heavily on the Old Testament view of femininity, women are the dangerous corruptors of man’s innocence; Layla is a modern day Eve, Jezebel or Delilah. Cox’s artful direction places this tragic love story within a broader feminist framework, as we see a passionate woman literally crushed by the forces of patriarchy. Continue reading

Mar 20

First Do Harm: “Mrs. Packard”

Photo credit: Marc J. Franklin; Mrs. Packard and inmates.

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theatre & Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company
Written by Emily Mann
Directed by Emily Ranii

March 15 – April 9, 2017
Multicultural Arts Center
East Cambridge, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook
Playhouse Creatures on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings: Torture, domestic abuse, nudity, implied horror, gaslighting

Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater,
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well.”
– Traditional nursery rhyme about “Peter” who couldn’t control his (allegedly sexually adventurous) wife so he killed her.  

(East Cambridge, MA) The more things change; the more they stay the same. Mrs. Packard is about how a panel of straight, white men made uninformed decisions on a woman’s health without her consent. Sound familiar? It should. It’s 2017, and treating women with respect is still a revolutionary act. Continue reading

Mar 18

“Silent Sky”: Fearless Feminism in the 19th Century

Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Dori A. Robinson

March 10-25, 2017
The Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Review by Travis Manni

(Watertown, MA) The impact that women have had in shaping our view of the world is so profound and infinite it could fill the sky. Often, their significance is overlooked, but it’s lovely seeing these roles brought to light in the arts. In its New England premiere production, Flat Earth Theatre brings to life the love, loss, and feminism of Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky. Continue reading

Mar 18

What a marvel: “Edward II”

(l to r) Edward II (Maurice Emmanuel Parent), Gaveston (Eddie Shields), and Lancaster (Nigel Gore) – Photo by Maggie Hall

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By Christopher Marlowe
Directed by David R. Gammons

February 22 – March 19, 2017
Charlestown Working Theater
ASPBoston on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

WARNING: Nudity, violence.

(I beg forgiveness from the cast and crew of Edward II! I was trapped on the west coast during the blizzard, and only returned last night. It was not possible to post Ms. Daniels’ review until then. My sincerest apologies, and best wishes for a closing weekend! – Kitty, the Queen Geek)

(Charlestown, MA)  This show is intense. I could feel my temples vibrate during intermission. The power and emotion has stayed with me for days. I cried during the show, afterward, and grew teary remembering it. I am not at all surprised the production has added more performances to its tight schedule. This is a melodrama realized with an expert, brutal hand. Continue reading

Mar 08

The Simple Beauty of “Grand Concourse”

Photo by Glenn Perry Photography; full stage with cast.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Heidi Schreck
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

March 3-April 1, 2017
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
SpeakEasy Stage Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) While I try not to make a habit of going to see religious shows, there’s something about the themes of religion that is compelling. They bring people together and allow them to question anything from faith and love to forgiveness and existence. And while playwright Heidi Schreck’s Grand Concourse manages to tackle all of these, what’s captivating about the show is that it does so without forcing religious concepts. Continue reading

Mar 07

Boston’s Unfortunate History of Complicity: “The Boston Abolitionists”

Presented by The Poets’ Theatre, and the Boston Athenaeum
Written by David Gullette
Directed by Bob Scanlan

Sunday, March 5, 2017 @ 1:00 P.M.
The Boston Athenaeum
10½ Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA) The Boston Athenaeum was the perfect setting for a performance that delved into the city’s complex past. Surrounded by portraits of Boston’s founding fathers, The Poets’ Theatre gave voice to some of Boston lesser-known revolutionaries in this unusual piece.

Challenging the stock image of the 19th century abolitionist as ‘a white man in a black suit’, the actors gave voice to some of the nation’s bravest and most controversial pioneers: escaped slave David Walker, the formidable Maria Stewart and white Southern activist Angelina Grimké among others. The story of Anthony Burns, the escaped slave, who was sent by a Massachusetts judge to return to Virginia and slavery, added a darker tone to the piece. Highlighting the North’s complicity with Southern slavery, Burns’ story reminded the audience that Boston’s history, like the whole country’s, is stained by slavery. Continue reading

Mar 07

“Wheel of Austen” Puts Improv in the 18th Century

Photo credit: Mike Descoteaux

Presented by ImprovBoston
Directed by John Herman
Created by Michelle Boncek & John Herman

March 3-31, 2017
40 Prospect Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
ImprovBoston on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) Improv is a weird thing to have to review. You often can’t comment on the set, because the world and props within it are imaginary. The entire show is based on a singular experience that will never be repeated, and that relies heavily on the chemistry of the actors on stage. But I’m happy to report that chemistry in one of ImprovBoston’s productions of Wheel of Austen was well within the performers’ wheelhouse. Continue reading

Mar 06

WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts presents SHAOLIN WARRIORS


WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts presents SHAOLIN WARRIORS
Saturday, April 1, 8pm
Orpheum Theatre
1 Hamilton Pl., Boston MA
WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts on Facebook
$58, $48, $37, $30, Reserved Seating (includes Orpheum Theatre $2 restoration fee)
For tickets and information call World Music/CRASHarts at (617) 876-4275 or buy online at www.WorldMusic.org.

(Boston, MA) Representing over a thousand years of Chinese martial-arts culture, Shaolin Warriors showcases the remarkable skill, stunning artistry, and death-defying martial-arts prowess of more than 20 kung fu masters. This spectacular theatrical display features many forms of Shaolin kung fu as well as a look at the daily life of the warriors and their Zen philosophy. Beginning at a very young age, the kung fu masters are trained in mental and physical disciplines, perfecting the art of hand-to-hand and weapons combat, which allows them to perform astounding feats of athleticism.  Continue reading

Mar 02

5 Handfuls of Butt: “A Ride On the Irish Cream”

Presented by Oberon
Written/Created/Co-composed/Lyrics by Erin Markey
Directed by Jordan Fein
Co-composed & Musical Directed by Emily Bate
Co-composed by Kenny Mellman 
Choreographed by Chloe Kernaghan 

Feb. 28 – March 4, 2017
Club Oberon
Arrow St
Cambridge, MA
Oberon on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) There is something exquisitely beautiful about a conventionally attractive woman being unconventionally, relentlessly, fearlessly strange in society’s general direction into perpetuity. It is a breathtaking thing. Erin Markey isn’t Jennifer Lawrence cutesy, “normal” weird. Markey and her merry band of revelers are Disco Pigs, Bellatrix LeStrange, mutated Alice in Wonderland kinds of weird. Their rock musical A Ride on the Irish Cream is gloriously odd.  Continue reading