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
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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 19

Somewhere Over, Under, in Front of, Behind the Rainbow: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”

Photo credit: Diane Anton

Photo credit: Diane Anton; the cast stepping out

Presented by imaginary beasts 
Written and Directed by Matthew Woods
Based on the Oz novels of L. Frank Baum

January 9-30, 2016
imaginary beasts on Facebook
BCA Plaza Black Box Black Box Theatre
Boston, MA

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MAPlaying fast and loose with both Oz canon and popular culture, imaginary beasts returns to the marvelous lands and characters L. Frank Baum created to amuse and entertain children at the turn of the century in Winter Panto 2016:  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  People unfamiliar with the pantomime tradition should not come expecting a regular play, or the musical version of the show, or even a rundown of all of Baum’s Oz books.  Rather, it’s a rollicking variety of scenes that parodies both the source and contemporary mores. Continue reading

Jan 19

Music, Puppetry, and Nonverbal Communication: LOLLIPOPS FOR BREAKFAST

Photo credit: Liz Linder

Photo credit: Liz Linder

Presented by The Gottabees at the Charlestown Working Theatre
Created by Bonnie Duncan / The Gottabees
Music by Brendan Burns & Tony Leva

January 16-17, 2016
442 Bunker Hill Street
Charlestown, MA 02129
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Review by Travis Manni

(Charlestown, MA) To think with a critical eye as a small crowd of children turns around to stare at (and silently judge) you and your small bag of goldfish and kids-sized juice box that you bought from the humble concession stand is no small feat. My friend and I may have arrived sans children and unchaperoned, but we were up to the challenge. 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
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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

Dec 08

The Dude Does Not Abide: “Return of the Winemaker”

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Presented by Tir Na Productions
Written by Bernard McMullan
Directed by Carmel O’Reilly

Dec. 2 – 20, 2015
Davis Square Theater
Somerville, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

Return of the Winemaker: An Irish Christmas Comedy  takes the piss out of two beloved institutions: Ireland and Christmas. It is not for the artistically insistent or the prudishly religious. In it, God sends his only begotten son to Ireland, of all places, to try again. Continue reading

Nov 30

Uncompromised Cuteness: BAREFOOT IN THE PARK

Tom Shoemaker (Paul Bratter) and Marisa Gold (Corie Bratter); Photograph – Earl Christie Photography

Tom Shoemaker (Paul Bratter) and Marisa Gold (Corie Bratter); Photograph – Earl Christie Photography

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Written by Neil Simon
Directed by Allison Olivia Choat
Original music composed by Dan Rodriguez

Nov. 20 – Dec. 12, 2015
Plaza Theater
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

Ticket sales benefit Summer Search. Please visit their site and learn more.

(Boston, MA) At first blush, Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park appears to be a fluffy romcom with about as much depth as the Frog Pond during a late-August drought. Upon closer inspection, it could be perceived as a satire addressing the impossible expectations placed on 1960’s newly-wed couples. I know it’s a stretch. Bear with me for a second. Continue reading

Nov 23

Weiner, Pirate and Bust: “A Confederacy of Dunces”

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Written by Jeffrey Hatcher
Based on the novel by John Kennedy Toole
Directed by David Esbjornson
Original music by Mark Bennett
Music direction by Wayne Barker

Nov. 11 – Dec. 20, 2015
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) I did not enjoy A Confederacy of Dunces. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good theatre. Let’s discuss. Continue reading

Nov 23

“Matt & Ben” Funny for the Bostonian in You

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Presented by The Riot Theatre
Witten by Mindy Kaling & Brenda Withers

November 27, December 11 (sold out!), 2015, 4th Saturday of the month in January, February, March. Performances in Davis Square on April 8 & 9, 2016
The Riot Theater
Jamaica Plain, MA
Matt & Ben in Boston on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Jamaica Plain, MA) The story of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s friendship is a bit before my time. I knew they were a pair of Bostonians, but I didn’t get what the big deal was. But the bromance that’s put on display in The Riot Theatre’s production of Matt & Ben was enough to get me on board for the comedic ride. Continue reading

Nov 16

Chronically Single: A Man’s Honest Attempt to Explain Singlehood

Photo of Randy Ross, writer and solo performer of "The Chronic Single's Handbook." Here, he offers one theory on why he is still single. Photo taken at the Capitol Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photo credit: Paul Gillis Photography. (low-res)

Photo of Randy Ross, photo taken at the Capitol Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photo credit: Paul Gillis Photography. (low-res)

Presented by OutPost 186
Written and Directed by Randy Ross

November 13, 15, 17, 21-22, 2015
OutPost 186 on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) During a conversation I had with a friend recently, it was decided that us twentysomethings are in two categories: the kind that enjoys hooking up with no strings attached, and the kind that is self-aware of the fact that they are not ready to be in any kind of a relationship. So it was quite surprising for me to see that the same could be somewhat true for older singles in The Chronic Single’s Handbook. Continue reading