May 06

A Different Cup of Tea: BOXER SHORTS

Bookmark and Share
Photo credit: Brown Box Theatre Project

Photo credit: Brown Box Theatre Project, “Play”

Presented by Brown Box Theatre Project
Works by Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Tenessee Williams, Diana Raznovich
Works directed by Darren Evans, Kyler Tausin, Anna Trachtman
Performed by Cameron Gosselin, Meredith Stypinski, Lizzie Milanovich, Johnny Quinones, Janelle Mills

Boston: April 24 – May 3, 2015
Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress St

Delmarva: May 8 – 11, 2015
Ocean City Center for the Arts
Ocean City, MD
Brown Box on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Brown Box Theatre’s mission involves bringing accessible theatre to uncommonly accessible spaces. They’ve made a home on Atlantic Wharf and Delmarva (MD). Their current production Boxer Shorts: an evening of short plays brings many genres to the same stage. In one sitting, the audience experiences a range of theatre from the mundane to the absurd. The result is an interesting evening of entertainment with varying levels of success. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share
Apr 16

Scaping the Serpent’s Tongue: “Shit-Faced Shakespeare”

Bookmark and Share

­­­

Photo care of Magnificent Bastard Productions

Photo care of Magnificent Bastard Productions

Presented by Magnificent Bastard Productions
Produced by Gabriel Kuttner and Daniel Berger-Jones in association with Cambridge Historical Tours

April 15 – May 1, 2015
Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street Somerville
Magnificent Bastards on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Somerville, MA) Everybody’s got that one friend. That friend who goes to a party (…or the bar, or any function where booze is readily available), has a bit too much, turns absolutely hilarious, but then the real conundrum begins: who is going to take care of “that friend”? John did it last time (to great disaster for the interior of John’s car); Sally isn’t much of a caregiver and would probably have “that friend” weeping openly on the floor of the bathroom in about ten minutes flat; and Bob doesn’t care for “that friend”. That just leaves you. Congratulations, you’ve now been saddled with the responsibility of taking care of this adult/child because “that friend” (as usual) couldn’t be bothered to know their own limits (despite the fact that you’ve been out of college for ten years now and shouldn’t “that friend” know better?). Suddenly, what was once a fun and exciting party is a tiresome (and stressful) burden. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share
Apr 13

Daniil Kharms Continues to Charm in imaginary beasts’ Betty Bam!

Bookmark and Share
Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
Directed by Matthew Woods, Joey C. Pelletier, and Michael Underhill
Written by Daniil Kharms
Translation by Zoya Derman
Adapted by The Ensemble

April 10 – May 2, 2015
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) The innovative and evocative imaginary beasts continue with their year-long exploration of Stalinist-era author, Daniil Kharms, with Betty Bam! Their last attack on his material, KNOCK!, was a condensed affair, a multi-character and multi-story primer on Kharms’ bleak humor and deeply unsettling monologues. The actors took pratfalls and grafted the absurdist theater onto a sort of vaudeville act. In Betty Bam!, the visual nods remain in the early-twentieth century, but the aesthetic switches to black and white film, page-boy cuts, and a set styled into a cartoon explosion. The five actresses who depict Betty Bam’s fractured identity (Beth Pearson, Amy Meyer, Molly Kimmerling, Sarah Gazdowicz, and Kiki Samko) are each a live action Betty Boop caught in an explosion of a different sort, one that takes the guise of an interruption into their life: the police, Ivan (Cameron Cronin) and Pytor (William Schuller). As with KNOCK!, the police are an oppressive force, one here to take Betty to an unknown fate. The action of taking her away makes up the entirety of the plot. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share
Apr 10

Enjoyably Odd and Oddly Enjoyable: ORLANDO

Bookmark and Share
Photo credit: Bad Habit Productions

Photo credit: Bad Habit Productions

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
Virgina Woolf’s Orlando
Adapted by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Daniel Morris

April 4-April 19, 2014
Deane Hall at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Identity and discovery are heavily explored in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, a work that spans continents, time, and gender.  Initially written as a joke of a biography for a fellow artist in the early 20th century, this more recent adaptation puts Woolf’s language forward while sacrificing character development.  This complex creation scratches the surface of a meaty, subtle series of discussions even the novel Orlando could not fully deliver. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share
Apr 03

From the Back of the House to Center Stage: LIFERS

Bookmark and Share
Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Written by John Shea and Maureen Cornell
Directed by Brett Marks
Produced by Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions

March 20-April 4, 2015
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Boston, MA
Happy Medium and Argos on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions have joined forces to bring to life a piece of Bostonian, working class history in Lifers.  At an enjoyable hour and a half even with a ten minute intermission, this well-edited and lively play is an ode to the people who make your meal at a local diner possible. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share
Mar 31

Push It Real Good: LOOT

Bookmark and Share
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

Bookmark and Share
Mar 30

Two out of Three Ain’t Bad: “The Complete History of America (abridged)”

Bookmark and Share
Photo courtesy of Jon Niketh

Photo courtesy of Jon Niketh

Presented by Arts After Hours
Book by Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor
Directed by James Tallach

March 27 – April 4
Rantoul Blackbox Theatre in LynnArts
25 Exchange Street, Lynn MA
Arts After Hours on Facebook

Review by Daniel Rosvally

(Lynn, MA) Listen, I know why the “Complete Works [abrgd]” series appeals to small theatres. With their cast of three can-be-anybody no-need-to-gender-or-type-bend parts; quirky, witty, wordy, and smart humor; fast-paced whirlwind nature; and high-demand for low-budge props and costumes, they’re pretty low-maintenance shows from a production standpoint. The Complete History of America (abridged) follows in the steps of its forefathers as steadfastly as drinking Sam Adams. The crew at Lynn After Hours has done a decent job in presenting something chuckle-worthy, but I will say that patrons who enjoyed a glass of wine before the show laughed much more frequently and with more vivaciousness than those of us who were stone sober. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share
Mar 19

Rebel When You Hear the Drums: THE COLORED MUSEUM

Bookmark and Share
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

Bookmark and Share
Mar 09

The Harm that Lust Can Do: TRISTAN & YSEULT

Bookmark and Share
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

Bookmark and Share
Mar 03

There Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Dame: THE MOUSETRAP

Bookmark and Share

mousetrap_logo

Presented by Theatre@First
Written by Dame Agatha Christie
Directed by Michael Haddad

Feb. 27 – March 7, 2015
Unity Church
6 William Street
Somerville, MA
T@F on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I have worked with Theatre@First as an actor and as a crew volunteer. It is my firm belief that only a narcissistic ass would allow something like that to color their review.

(Somerville, MA) If you can’t keep a secret, chances are that you’d make a terrible murderer but a great victim. Seymour R. Goff’s famous advert for Seagram Distillers Corporation cautioned that “loose lips might sink ships.” It was in use by 1942 by the US Office of War Information. Across the pond, British allies were told to “keep mum” lest their thoughtless chatter accidentally leak information to Nazi sympathisers. The wartime influenced Mousetrap (1952), was rewritten as a radio play called Three Blind Mice (1947) after originally being written as a short story, argues quite strongly for keeping personal, potentially damning information quiet. It makes a very strong case for background checks. As for the guests staying at Monkswell Manor, they likely would have survived unscathed had they checked references and kept their noses clean. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share