Apr 14

First Few Rows Will Not Get Wet: THE CLYTEMNESTRIAD

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Photo credit: Fresh Ink Theatre, Jade Guerra tearing it up at Clytemnestra.

Photo credit: Fresh Ink Theatre, Jade Guerra tearing it up as Clytemnestra.

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre
Written by A. Nora Long
Directed by Caitlin Lowans
Dramaturgy by Ramona Ostrowski

April 10 – 18, 2015
The Hale Chapel at First Church
Boston, MA
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warning: Strobe effect

(Boston, MA) Homer’s Iliad tells us that Agamemnon fought bravely at Troy for ten years to reunite Helen and Menelaus. Greek myth tells us that when Agamemnon returned from the Trojan War, his wife Clytemnestra murdered him in the bath. Depending on the myth the particulars of who, why and how differ. What is evident is Clytemnestra’s retention of power and eventual murder at the hands of her children after the fact. A. Nora Long’s The Clytemnestriad follows the events leading up to and after Agamemnon’s death from the perspective of his wife, Clytemnestra. Continue reading

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Apr 06

Arlington Friends of the Drama presents NINE

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Arlington Friends of the Drama presents

NINE

Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston and Book by Arthur Kopit

Performance dates: April 10,11,12,17,18,19,24,25,26, 2015

 Director/Choreographer: Jennifer Condon       Music Director: Mario Cruz

This extraordinary musical tells the story of film director, Guido Contini, and his attempts to devise a plot for his next film as he is being pursued by sexy, beautiful women each clamoring to be loved by him and him alone. He finally decides to use the substance of his life, told through flashbacks, to create a musical version of the Casanova story. Through these flashbacks involving relationships with the women in his life – his mother, the Nuns that schooled him, his mistress, and a prostitute among others – we watch him drift towards a nervous breakdown (what we would call a mid-life crisis today) from which he is held back by the support of his wife, Luisa. What makes this piece outstanding is the richness with which it has been imagined and the way all the pieces fit together. This masterpiece owes its life to the worlds of opera, concert, and musical theatre; it defies categorization.

 

 

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Mar 31

Push It Real Good: LOOT

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Photo courtesy of Hub Theatre Co of Boston

Photo courtesy of Hub Theatre Co of Boston

Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Joe Orton
Directed by Daniel Bourque
Dialect coaching by Meredith Stypinski
Fight choreography by Johnnie McQuarley

March 27-April 12, 2015
First Church Boston
66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA
Hub on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Playwright Joe Orton was an out gay man at a time when it was not only unfashionable but also highly illegal. Orton died in August 1967. Just one month shy of the passing of Britain’s Sexual Offences Act (amendment), which made acts such as kissing, hand holding, or plain old love between two men legal in the privacy of one’s home (it was still illegal to be homosexual in public. Baby stepping progress is still progress). Orton further pushed the hetero-normative envelope by incorporating his penchant for personal freedom in his writings. Orton’s flagrant disdain for authority and hypocritical social ethics are on proud display in Hub Theatre Co’s production of Loot. Orton’s script is not successful as art but it’s message rings profoundly clear: convention can go hang itself. Continue reading

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Mar 26

Stronger Than Fear: FROM THE DEEP

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PHOTO BY MARC J. FRANKLIN

Presented by Boston Public Works Theatre Company
by Cassie M. Seinuk
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

March 12 – 28, 2015
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Boston Public Works on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) From the Deep is not about the war on terror. It’s not even about terrorists. It’s about two men attempting to do the best they can with the nasty cards they are dealt. In the realm in which we see them, there is only suffering or not suffering. So, they try to turn the moments in which they are not suffering into moments that are happy. Happiness becomes relative. So do stability and health. This production from Boston Public Works Theatre Co, is about Man’s capacity to understand existence within a capacity for pain. Continue reading

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Mar 24

Major and Minor Details: BIG FISH

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Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Book by John August
Music & Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Based on the Novel by Daniel Wallace and the Columbia Motion Picture Written by John August
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Assistant Director Alex Lonati
Musical Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Larry Sousa

MAR 13 – APR 11, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St.
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) I did not enjoy Big Fish. I did enjoy SpeakEasy’s production. The performances from the cast were, as always, exemplary but the script has many problems. Follow along as I list the major issues and make the conscious decision not to detail the minor ones. Continue reading

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Mar 19

Rebel When You Hear the Drums: THE COLORED MUSEUM

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Photo: T. Charles Erickson. — at Huntington Theatre Company.

Photo: T. Charles Erickson. — at Huntington Theatre Company.

Presented by the Huntington Stage Co.
by George C. Wolfe
Directed/choreographed by Billy Porter
Music direction and arrangement by James Sampliner

March 6 – April 5, 2015
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

The Colored Museum is two hours short and presented without an intermission.

(Boston, MA) The majority of Black culture accessible to White people is appropriated into easily digestible, tepid hunks that wouldn’t scare a baby much less a conservative one percenter who thinks that an Azealia Banks is a deciduous shrub. The Colored Museum is like a trip on Disney’s It’s A Small World if the ride were devoted to the culture pacifying White people instead of world peace. It’s a powerful display of stereotype and the bleak truths that cement them into western society. Those with an understanding of race relations and the systematic control racism has on these relations will likely enjoy the romp. Those who think discussing race with their Starbucks barista is equal to having a race relation will have their mind blown. Continue reading

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Mar 16

Inclusive and Intersectional: THE TASTE OF SUNRISE

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Photo by Craig Bailey, Perspective Photo.

Elbert Joseph as Tuc in Mother Hicks at Emerson Stage. Photo by Craig Bailey, Perspective Photo.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Written by Suzan L. Zeder
Composed by Peter Stewart
Directed by Wendy Lement and Kristin Johnson
Choreographed by Patricia Manalo Bochnak

March 13 – 22, 2015
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook

PART TWO OF THE WARE TRILOGY, produced with Emerson Stage (Mother Hicks, February 2015) and Central Square Theatre (The Edge of Peace, April 3-12, 2015)

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) In Susan Zeder’s The Taste of Sunrise, Tuc (Elbert Joseph) grows up poor, black and deaf in an ASL-ignorant hearing community in Ware, IL.  At the behest of the well-intentioned Dr. Graham (Donna Sorbello), Jonas Tucker (Cliff Odle) sends Tuc to a school for the deaf to learn how to speak. After years of social solitude, he finally meets kids just like him. They teach him sign; Tuc learns to communicate and to express himself. With help from friends Maizie (Amanda Collins) and Nell Hicks (Brittany Rolfs), discovers what it means to self-discover, to lose and then rebuild one’s identity. Continue reading

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Mar 10

A Salute to Modern Standards: ALLOY ORCHESTRA’s “The Son of the Sheik”

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(c) Ivan Singer

(c) Ivan Singer

Presented by World Music/CRASHarts
Box 5 Productions
Directed by Ken Winokur
Performed by Ken Winokur, Roger Miller, Terry Donahue
Performing live to The Son of the Sheik

Saturday, March 7, 2015
Somerville Theatre
Davis Square
Somerville, MA
World Music/CRASHarts on Facebook
Alloy Orchestra on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Info about “The Son of the Sheik” can be found here.

(Somerville, MA) To sum up, “The Son of the Sheik” is a silent film starring the classically handsome Rudolf Valentino in his last role. He plays both Ahmed, the Sheik’s son, and the Sheik. Ahmed falls madly in love with a penniless yet beautiful dancing girl, Yasmin (Vilma Banky). Yasmin’s thieving father (Bull Montana) and his nasty band capture and rob Ahmed. They convince the gullible lover that Yasmin only loves him for his money. After daring adventures across the desert sands, Ahmed rescues Yasmin and takes her post haste to the Casbah. Continue reading

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Mar 09

The Harm that Lust Can Do: TRISTAN & YSEULT

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overs Tristan (Dominic Marsh) with Yseult (Hannah Vassallo) Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult Photo by: Richard Termine

Lovers Tristan (Dominic Marsh) with Yseult (Hannah Vassallo).  Photo by:Richard Termine

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Directed and adapted by Emma Rice
Written by Carl Grose & Anna Maria Murphy
Performed by Kneehigh Theatre Company
Composed by Stu Barker
Sweet Band: Lizzy Westcott, Justin Radford, Pat Moran, James Gow

March 5 – 15, 2015
Cutler Majectic Theater
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Kneehigh on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) In 2006 Twentieth Century Fox released a film bastardization of the Tristan and Isolde myth, Tristan & Isolde. It was headlined by James freakin’ Franco, directed by Kevin Reynolds, and produced by Ridley Scott. It was terrible but sweet, innocent youths flocked to the theater because, then “It” boy, James Franco (Tristan) participated in naked sexy times with Sophia Myles (Isolde) and they wanted to see it. These poor kids assumed that T&I were star crossed lovers with good intentions and bad luck. The truth lives thousands of miles away from the inane crud Reynolds and Franco brought to screen.

Kneehigh Theatre Company’s Tristant & Yseult presents a more true interpretation of the medieval French tale. Tristan (Dominic Marsh with a dodgy French accent), Yseult (Hannah Vassallo) and King Mark (Stuart Goodwin) are caught in a love triangle. Tristan loves and serves the English King Mark like a father. In return, Mark loves Tristan like a son. After defeating the Irish royal Morholt (Niall Ashdown),  Tristan sails to Ireland to capture Morholt’s sister, the fair Yseult, and bring her back to England at Mark’s behest. Upon seeing her for the first time, both men fall deeply in love with Yseult. Yseult gives her sensible heart to Mark but her hormonal lady bits to Tristan. The actions are narrated by the elegant White Hands (Kirsty Woodward) and the patrons of the Club of the Unloved, the omniscient ensemble dressed in snoods, thick glasses, and windbreakers (snood dudes). There’s betrayal and laughs aplenty. Continue reading

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