Feb 09

With The Stars Thrown In: MARY POPPINS

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Based on the stories by PL Travers and the Walt Disney film
Music and lyrics by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman
Book by Julian Fellows
New songs and additional music by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe
Co-created by Cameron Mackintosh
Directed/choreographed by Russell Garrett
Music directed by Robert L Rucinski

January 29 – February 28, 2016
American Sign Language and Audio-description are offered on Friday February 26 at 7:30 and Sunday February 28 at 3:00.
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The adaptation of a beloved movie into a musical theatre production can be a sticky business. On the one hand, it is necessary to tread carefully in order to honor the childhood memories (or other) of an audience. On the other, there’s a story to tell. Something usually gets lost in translation. In the instance of Mary Poppins at Wheelock Family Theatre, it’s the story that suffers. Worry not! The performances still enthrall. Continue reading

Feb 02

Geeks Review Books: Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “CHOIR BOY”

TCG7820

TCG book cover

Review of Choir Boy
Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney
Published by Theatre Communications Group (TCG)
New York, NY 2015
Press release, including production credits, here
Hard copies and ebook copies of Choir Boy can be purchased here.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(New York, NY) Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys is a christian organization founded on the mission to turn black boys into strong, ethical men… So long as the boys obey authority without question, these boys will grow into men who will do as they are told. This is how Charles R. Drew is expected to run. The reality is quite different. Continue reading

Jan 27

Super Helpful Feedback From Collaborators*

My Dearest Readership,

Occasionally, we Geeks receive helpful feedback from collaborators. In the interest of transparency,  the juiciest tidbits are shared because we believe that constructive feedback can inspire growth of all artists. As per our reviewing policy, we believe that passive aggressive notes don’t.

For your reading pleasure, a recent submission without preamble.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Hank <Hank_@RhymeswithMyricSmage.com>
Date: Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 10:09 AM
Subject: RE: Schmondheim on Schmondheim press pass
To: T-Dizzle<t-dizzle at gmail.com>

Just FYI, you’re the ONLY non-rave review.
Sorry you didn’t enjoy.

Hank

<<redacted>>
———- End forwarded message ———–

See? Helpful! And we’ve all learned a new lesson about the status quo.

With love unbounded,
Your Queen, Kitty
No feelings were harmed in the typing of this post.

*rabid sarcasm

Jan 26

As Exciting as Actual Ice Fishing: “Nice Fish”

Presented by the American Repertory Theatre
Written by Mark Rylance & Louis Jenkins
Drawn from the works of Louis Jenkins
Direction and compositions by Claire van Kampen

January 17 – February 7, 2016
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MANice Fish pairs the poetry of Louis Jenkins and self-aware post post-modern theatre on the frozen waters of a Minnesota lake. It is a small, white cast with one woman (Kayli Carter taking one for the team) about the humdrum comings and goings of ice fishers and their community. We are invited to experience the quiet contemplations of Erik (Jim Lichtscheidl) and Ron (Mark Rylance) on their technology-assisted jaunt into the wilderness. It’s a story of Man versus Nature versus Man’s Nature. In the end, the winner is always Nature.   Continue reading

Jan 19

Out of the Mouths of Babes: CARDBOARD EXPLOSION

Presented by Puppet Showplace Theater through their Incubator program
Sponsored by the Jim Henson Foundation and the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust
Created and performed by Brad Shur
Music and sound consultants: Matt McLaren, Brendan Burns

Jan. 9 – 24, 2016
Puppet Showplace Theater
Brookline Village, MA
PST on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Brookline Village, MA) The pre-show of Cardboard Explosion consists of resident-artist, Brad Shur, encouraging his child audience to use their imaginations constructively. He asked them if they knew what shapes would be made if he cut a cardboard square in a diagonal line. They responded enthusiastically: triangles. He then asked them what these triangles could be used for, halving them again and again, on the body of a puppet. Via the use of raised hands and waiting to be called upon, various answers from the mundane to the abnormal were called out. Using his wits, kindness, and gentle sincerity, Shur convinced his child and adult audience alike that he was safe, despite the scissors, and trustworthy with burgeoning young minds. Continue reading

Jan 18

Not Inspiration Porn: VIOLET


Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co
Based on short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book and lyrics by Brian Crawley
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music direction by Matthew Stern

Jan. 9 – Feb. 6, 2016
The Stanford Calderwood Paviliion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Violet is the story of a young woman so doggedly determined in her belief that she’s disabled, that she goes to great lengths to prove that she is. For the sake of argument, Violet is also a musical about a young woman who travels across the Midwest on a journey of self-discovery to meet a faith healer to make her pretty. It’s about both. Continue reading

Jan 16

At War With Each Other: DISGRACED

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Co.
Written Ayad Akhtar
Directed by Gordon Edelstein

Jan. 8 – Feb. 7, 2016
BU Theatre
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Disgraced tackles the complicated conundrum of existential humanity. One of the most trying aspects of existing is reconciling our darkest impulses against pointless altruism. For an example unrelated to the show, one can rashly wish the perpetrators of a horrendous crime to wither slowly in the blazing fires of Hell while still feeling compassion for the perp’s family. Meanwhile, expressing neither of these thoughts out loud. Simply wishing to be lawfully good does not eradicate one’s potential for committing chaotic evil acts. If so, the behavioral teachings of religion, say, would be unnecessary. Humans are complicated beasties. Continue reading

Jan 12

Robots and Prostitutes Are People Too: CITIZENS OF THE EMPIRE

Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto, no fancy underpants needed here.

Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto, no fancy underpants needed here.

Presented by Boston Public Works
Written by Kevin Mullins
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

January 8-23, 2016
The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
BPW on Facebook

My apologies to the cast and crew, the death of cultural icon and glam rock god David Bowie has hit me harder than anticipated. This review was delayed by my selfish human emotions.
-Kitty Drexel, Reviewer

“To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.”
Paul R. Ehrlich

“To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.”
Hubert H. Humphrey

(Boston, MA) One of the reasons artists write about the future and/or the past is to show how human behavior remains the same regardless of the passage of time. Human hearts and heads tangle up in the same figurative knots no matter what century it is. Science and the evolution of reason only confuse matters. People will be people until they aren’t anymore. Continue reading

Jan 05

Flappable: TRUE DEFECTIVE

tdectivePresented by ImprovBoston
Directed by Luke Bruneaux
Featuring the talents of Kaitlin Buckley, Sumeet Sarin, Taylor Cotter, Rachel Jane Andelman, Ryan Dalley & Francesca Villa
Kristina Stapelfeld on electric guitar

January 2, 9, & 16, 2016
Saturdays at 11PM
Studio Theater
40 Prospect Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
IB on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) There is a cognitive dissonance that affects performers when converting material between an audience of peers to an audience of strangers. For whatever reason, the gags found most hilarious by one’s peers tend to fall flat on an audience of strangers. Fate’s determination of success and failure is one of the pitfalls of theatre. This truth is one of the harshest for newer performers to learn. Continue reading