Aug 12

Here the Rodents Reign Supreme: “The Annotated History of the American Muskrat”

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Presented by The Circuit Theatre Company
Written by John Kuntz
Directed by Skylar Fox

August 2 – 16, 2014
The Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Circuit Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) My parents were in town this weekend and, in the interest of involving them in my life, I asked them to attend The Annotated History of the American Muskrat with me. My conservative Dad’s immediate response was to ask, “is it weird?” At the time he asked I couldn’t give a definitive answer but, after attending Sunday’s matinee performance,  I can honestly answer that, yes, this show is weird. Yet, “weird” doesn’t scratch the surface of what it is. It is also intensely powerful (reviewers use these words a lot. This show is actually powerful and intense versus a “powerful” and “intense” production of, say, The Cherry Orchard.) in ways that cause the viewer to question how Americans process the life we consume. It’s a bad trip on the best acid. It’s about everything and nothing. It is not for the weak. Continue reading

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Aug 12

Actresses Define an Era in “Playhouse Creatures”

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Andrew San Photography

Andrew San Photography

Presented by Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company
By April DeAngelis
Directed by Anna Trachtman

August 1 – 17, 2014
The Factory Theatre
Boston, MA
Maiden Phoenix on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company puts on the sort of historical play I love. Playhouse Creatures looks at the Restoration Era with new eyes, examining the lives of actors Mary Betteron (Christine Power), Ms. Marshall (Janelle Mills), Nell Gwyn (Emily White), and Ms. Farley (Emma Goodman) as they take to the English stage once women are lawfully allowed to act again. Their agendas diverge wildly: they do it for money, fame, or unbridled joy. Regardless, the show is a delicious exploration of what women looking to make art do when faced with a patriarchal society. Continue reading

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Aug 05

Blast Off Achieved: “Astro Boy and the God of Comics”

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Banner courtesy of the C1 Facebook page

Presented by Company One
Written and Directed by Natsu Onoda Power

July 19-August 16, 2014
Plaza Theatre at Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
C1 on Facebook

Review by Noe Kamelamela

(Boston) Sci-fi disciples should rocket into the BCA to catch Astro Boy and the God of Comics.  Company One not only delivers the flash and joy of Mighty Atom, but also ably handles the more thorny political commentary.  Violence, death, and some racially offensive content are referenced. Continue reading

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Aug 04

“Translations” and Tribulations

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Credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidecphoto.com

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
by Brian Friel
directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

August 2-17, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

Cultural erasure and the silencing power of colonialism—Translations is not a play that minces words. It’s a tragedy of linguistics. During the 19th century, the English army seeks to map out the Irish countryside, specifically the town of Baile Beag. In order to have unified names for the maps they draw, the soldiers end up Anglicizing the Gaelic names of rivers, roads, and mountain ridges. Staged by Bad Habit Productions, this play rages at the disappearance of local tradition in the name of Imperialism. Continue reading

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Jul 25

Beware the Uffish Jabberwock: FORTUNE’S FAVORED

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Courtesy of Paul Cantillon, LIDEC Photo

Courtesy of Paul Cantillon, LIDEC Photo. Stitch is my favorite.

Presented by Vagabond Theatre Group
By Lesley Anne Moreau
Directed by Zach Winston

July 11 – 26, 2014
The Factory Theater
Boston, MA
Vagabond on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Fortune’s Favored almost works as theatre. It is so close to being a very well-written, sensitively acted play that it is devastating that it doesn’t achieve the success it’s capable of. The premise is quite clever, the small cast is capable and Zach Winston’s direction is sympathetic to the actors’ needs but the combination of the elements is mismatched. They are crafted pieces from three different puzzles. They don’t fit.

Eudora Redden (Annie Hochheiser) is running the Redden Arcade in Big Ugly, West Virginia for her drunk father. It’s been the family business for three generations. Her cousin Luann O’Hare (Lauren Robinson) has recently crawled home with her tail between her legs from Washington, DC after getting involved with a political scandal. They both meet Davis Milford (Conor Walsh) when he expresses interest in purchasing the business centerpiece, the fortune teller game, and in getting to know Eudora better. Things go south when business and family tangle over the potential sale. Mikey DiLoreto is the recorded voice of John Barrymore. Continue reading

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Jul 23

Hops Along at a Hip Clip: “Welcome To Arroyo’s”

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Photo from Circuit Theatre website. Look at all these POCs!

Presented by Circuit Theatre Company
By Kristoffer Diaz
Directed by Jen Diamond

July 9-July 27
Club Oberon
2 Arrow St
Cambridge, MA
Circuit Theatre on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge) Performed in repertory with The Walk Across Mother Earth, Taylor Mac’s ode to the political march, Kristoffer Diaz’s coming of age tale features a brother and sister from Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  The Circuit Theatre Company hands in a breezy summer confection, heavy on fun and low on substance. Continue reading

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Jun 23

He Who Watches the Watchers: PATTERN OF LIFE

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Nael Nacer as Rahmat Lewis D. Wheeler as Carlo; Photo: Courtesy of New Repertory Theatre.

Handsome devils: Nael Nacer as Rahmat, Lewis D. Wheeler as Carlo; Photo courtesy of New Rep/BCAP Facebook page.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre and Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP)
By Walt McGough
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

June 14 – 29, 2014
Boston University Theatre – Lane-Comley Studio 210
264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
New Rep on Facebook
BCAP on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) President Obama has received flak from all political sides for his decision to back govt.-sourced  drone proposals. It has been 5 years and 5 months since the CIA conducted the first strike during Obama’s term and he shortly thereafter ramped up the attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He went so far as to say that “he wrestle[s] with civilian casualties. But, he said, he has a solemn duty and responsibility to keep the American people safe. That’s my most important obligation as President and Commander-in-Chief. And there are individuals and groups out there that are intent on killing Americans — killing American civilians, killing American children, blowing up American planes.” (Huffington Post) While drone attacks have decreased once his numbers started suffering, attacks have not stopped entirely. Clearly, Obama “wrestles” with casualties enough to make a statement but not enough to discontinue drone use. Continue reading

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Jun 16

The Smartest Play in Town: SMART PEOPLE

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Roderick Hill as Brian White and McKinley Belcher III as Jackson Moore in Smart People. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Roderick Hill as Brian White and McKinley Belcher III as Jackson Moore in Smart People. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by the Huntington Theatre
Written by Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Peter DuBois

June 25th – July 6th, 2014
Calderwood Pavelion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) How we view race defines us, but we often don’t like to examine how we view race, at least not directly. To write well about race in America requires both a deep understanding of society and a deeper self-examination of one’s own feelings to sort out fact from feeling, and to know when to use both to create an artistic vision. Successful attempts to write well in fiction about this dicey subject are rare; most either skitter across the surface or descend into lecture. Continue reading

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Jun 13

Something to Think About: “Doubles, Demons, and Dreamers”

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image taken from Sleeping Weasel FB page

image taken from Sleeping Weasel FB page

Presented by Sleeping Weazel Productions
Ugmo and Eenie Go Down the Ruski Hole
Written and directed by Kenneth Prestininzi

June 12-21, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Sleeping Weazel on Facebook
Johnny Blazes on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston) As a heterosexual cisgendered woman living in what essentially constitutes the suburbs of a low-key city like Boston, it’s easy to let things like Pride Week fall off my radar. As such, it took the reminder of my accompanying companion and a couple of big honking rainbow flags spotted on the way to BCA to remind me what time of the year it was. In a lot of ways, this situation is allegorical to the overall message of the current incarnation of Doubles, Demons, and Dreamers.
Continue reading

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