Jan 09

Son of a Biscuit: HAND TO GOD

It starts so innocently. It always does. Eliot Purcell and Josephine Elwood; Photo by Glenn Perry Photography

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Robert Askins
Directed by David R. Gammons
Puppetry direction by Roxanna Myhrum
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Jan. 6 – Feb. 4, 2017
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Devil references, supernatural activity, gore, violence, implied sex with a minor, graphic puppetry

(Boston, MA) Horror gets nastier when it employs kid’s toys. Personally speaking, dolls are the worst, but cinematic history has proved that puppets can be just as creepy. They can be really, super, frickin’ creepy. SpeakEasy’s Hand to God has a puppet. Like the previously referenced horror movies, it gets creepy and weird. Like, Evil Dead chainsaw hand meets Avenue Q levels of weird. It’s awesome.   Continue reading

Jan 05

Color and Joy for the End of the Year: “Squirrel Stole My Underpants”

Bonnie Duncan and The Gottabees are on a mission!

Presented by Puppet Showplace Theater
Created by The Gottabees
Created and performed by Bonnie Duncan
Live Musicians Brendan Burns and Tony Leva

December 30, 2016-January 1, 2017
Puppet Showplace Theater
Brookline, MA
Puppet Showplace on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Brookline, MA) Puppet Showplace Theatre produced the show Squirrel Stole My Underpants to ring out the old and terrible year of 2016.  Originally created with the support of PST’s Incubator program as well as a grant from the Jim Henson Foundation in 2013, the Gottabees presented a rare puppet show that managed to capture the attention of kids and kids at heart without spoken words.   Continue reading

Dec 24

Monkeys On My Mind: JOURNEY TO THE WEST

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company & Underground Railway Theater
Adapted by Mary Zimmerman from the translation by Anthony C. Yu of “Hsi Yu Chi”
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Choreography by Judith Chaffee
Fight choreography by Andrew Moss
Composition, Percussion & Music Collaborations by Ryan Meyer

Nov. 25 – Dec. 31, 2016
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: gender fluid casting, non-Christian religions that existed before the birth of Christ

(Cambridge, MA) Journey to the West is excellent family theatre. It has joyful storytelling, runs a little long, but delivers an epic myth in child-sized bites. There are bouncing monkeys, kings and queens, educational morals, and integrated behavioral psychology lessons. It has a little something for every intelligent, open-minded liberal.   Continue reading

Dec 10

Tossing Your Cookies, and Having Them Too: Cirque Dreams’ HOLIDAZE

Presented by Cirque Productions
Created and directed by Neil Goldberg
Associate director: Heather Hoffman
Music & lyrics by Jill Winters & David Scott
Additional music by Lance Conque, Tony Aliperti

Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
Cirque Dreams on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Holidaze is a Cirque du Soleil like production. It’s a “holiday” circus show with Christmas as it’s primary focus. Token nods are thrown briefly at Hanukkah and New Years. The focus is still on Christmas.  Please note: Cirque Dreams is not Cirque du Soleil. It is a production operated by company Cirque Productions, and a direct competitor of Cirque du Soleil. Cirque Productions are more… earthy. Continue reading

Dec 07

“Return of the Winemaker”: I Met God at a BBQ

Photo credit to Aidan Hamell

Photo credit to Aidan Hamell

Presented by Tír Na Productions
By Bernard McMullan
Directed by Carmel O’Reilly

December 1-23, 2016
The Rockwell
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA 02144
Tír Na Productions on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Somerville, MA) I’ve never been to Ireland, or been cultured into any traditional Irish customs, despite the high percentage of ancestry that I maintain. However, by the end of Tír Na’s production of Return of the Winemaker, it was pretty clear that the best kind of Christmas is an Irish one. Continue reading

Dec 01

“A Palpable Hit”: Fight! Fight! Fight!

Photo credit: Timothy John Smith

Photo credit: Timothy John Smith

Presented by The Gunpowder Plot & Cambridge Historical Tours
From the works of William Shakespeare
Directed by Gabriel Kuttner, Daniel Berger-Jones & Sarah Gazdowicz

November 25-December 11, 2016
Durrell Theatre
Cambridge YMCA
820 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge Historical Tours on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) Everybody knows that the events leading up to any action sequence, while often necessary, can feel boring and overlong. Sometimes you just want to skip to the good stuff and watch everybody fight or use their superpowers to kick some serious ass. While Shakespeare often preferred battles with swords, though one could argue his battles of wit are just as exhilarating, what made his scenes of confrontation so mesmerizing was the use of tension, and The Gunpowder Plot’s production of A Palpable Hit: Shakespeare Fight Night sure knew how to tap into this. Continue reading

Nov 26

“Bedroom Farce”: The Art of Being in a Relationship

Bedroom Farce HTC 11-16 130Bedroom Farce, by Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Mariah Aitken at Huntington Theatre Company 11/10/16Set Design: Alexander DodgeCostume Design: Robert MorganLighting Design: Matthew Richards© T Charles Erickson Photographytcepix@comcast.net

Bedroom Farce, © T Charles Erickson

Presented by The Huntington Theatre Company
By Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Maria Aitken

November 11-December 11, 2016
BU Theatre at The Huntington Theatre Company
The Huntington Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) Usually, I’m a sucker for anything British, especially accents and that special brand of English humor. Both passions, as well as the potential for bedroom antics, were just a couple reasons I was excited to attend a performance of English playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce. But by the end of the show I was disappointed to realize that the accents were the only British thing about it and the bedroom humor was rather lazy at best. Continue reading

Nov 03

Happiness is the Only Life Plan: TIGER STYLE!

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Written by Mike Lew
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel

Oct. 14 – Nov. 20, 2016 Extended!
South End
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) After a certain point, it’s your own fault if your “messed up” childhood is still ruining your adult life. If you live in your own space, have a real job(s), pay taxes or equivalent, date people your parents haven’t vetted, etc., then you’re old enough to work out some of the trauma they caused you with a therapist or dominatrix. You can’t blame your parents for how you choose to live after you’ve moved out. Adulthood means you get to choose what that means. What that means is get your stuff constructively sorted. Continue reading

Nov 02

Shakespeare…with Zombies: “Twelfth Night of the Living Dead”

Photo courtesy of Anthem's Facebook page

Photo courtesy of Anthem’s Facebook page

Presented by Anthem Theatre Company
Based on the work by William Shakespeare
Script by Brian MacInnis Smallwood
Directed by Bryn Boice

October 27 – November 5, 2016
Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Anthem on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) I’m going to make a case for why Twelfth Night of the Living Dead, a mashup of Shakespeare and zombie movies, rises above its original source material. And I’m making this case post-Halloween, so I’m not gripped with Salem festival-like fever. Continue reading

Nov 02

“Thirsty” Not Worth the Right Swipe

Photo by Haris Lefteri

Photo by Haris Lefteri; pictured: Adjovi A. Koene

Presented by Ya Bird? Productions
By Greg Hovanesian
Directed by Haris Lefteri

October 30, 2016
The Rockwell
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
Ya Bird? Productions on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Somerville, MA) I love a show with a holiday theme to get me in the right kind of festive mood. And what better way to let the Halloween spirit possess me than going to see Thirsty, a show about online dating and vampires. Continue reading