Jan 26

Keeping House and Conversing with Ghosts in “The Housekeeper”

Photo credit: Amanda Sheehan

Photo credit: Amanda Sheehan

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
By Ginger Lazarus
Directed by Shana Gozansky

January 15-30, 2016
Fresh Ink Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) Fresh Ink Theatre has the sole mission of allowing playwrights to shape their craft through the production and workshop processes to produce art that is professional and refreshing. I was excited to see The Housekeeper because of this mission, and I was not disappointed. Continue reading

Jan 25

Elementary at Best: “Bistany’s Mysteries”

bistanywebsitefinal
Presented by Improv Boston
Director: Matt Bistany

January 8 – 22, 2016
ImprovBoston
40 Prospect Street
Cambridge, MA
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Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) ImprovBoston does an admirable job of keeping the art of live improvisation well… alive.  I love the constantly rotating repertory onstage at IB, and I’ve almost never been disappointed with the offerings I’ve seen at this venue.  Perhaps best of all: IB makes certain that all levels of improvisers get a chance at the spotlight as they produce student showcases frequently mixed in with their professional troupes.  Nice work, IB.  Nice work. Continue reading

Jan 25

Sober Truth….With Jokes: THE WHITE CHIP

Jeffrey Binder in "The White Chip" Photo by Meghan Moore.

Jeffrey Binder in “The White Chip” Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Sean Daniels
Directed by Sheryl Kaller

Jan 6 – 31, 2016
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) Earnestness may be the most difficult emotion to pull off in theater well. Attempts generally fall short and become bludgeoning lectures, wooden morality plays, or both. That’s what makes The White Chip, playing at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, such a theatrical revelation. Not only does it deliver a powerful, needed message on why so many fail at addiction recovery, but it is a riveting play that is a joy to watch, as playwright Sean Daniels manages to add just the right amount of humor and perspective to keep the audience hooked. Continue reading

Jan 21

Remixed: “Twelfth Night”


Presented by Filter Theatre Company in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Sean Holmes
Music and Songs by Tom Haines and Ross Hughes
Presented at ArtsEmerson

January 20 – 30, 2016
Paramount Center
559 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111
Filter Theatre Company on Facebook
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Let’s start here: this ain’t your mama’s Twelfth Night. 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
Charlestown Working Theatre on Facebook

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 18

Not Inspiration Porn: VIOLET


Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co
Based on short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book and lyrics by Brian Crawley
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music direction by Matthew Stern

Jan. 9 – Feb. 6, 2016
The Stanford Calderwood Paviliion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Violet is the story of a young woman so doggedly determined in her belief that she’s disabled, that she goes to great lengths to prove that she is. For the sake of argument, Violet is also a musical about a young woman who travels across the Midwest on a journey of self-discovery to meet a faith healer to make her pretty. It’s about both. Continue reading

Jan 16

At War With Each Other: DISGRACED

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Co.
Written Ayad Akhtar
Directed by Gordon Edelstein

Jan. 8 – Feb. 7, 2016
BU Theatre
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Disgraced tackles the complicated conundrum of existential humanity. One of the most trying aspects of existing is reconciling our darkest impulses against pointless altruism. For an example unrelated to the show, one can rashly wish the perpetrators of a horrendous crime to wither slowly in the blazing fires of Hell while still feeling compassion for the perp’s family. Meanwhile, expressing neither of these thoughts out loud. Simply wishing to be lawfully good does not eradicate one’s potential for committing chaotic evil acts. If so, the behavioral teachings of religion, say, would be unnecessary. Humans are complicated beasties. Continue reading

Jan 12

Robots and Prostitutes Are People Too: CITIZENS OF THE EMPIRE

Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto, no fancy underpants needed here.

Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto, no fancy underpants needed here.

Presented by Boston Public Works
Written by Kevin Mullins
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

January 8-23, 2016
The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
BPW on Facebook

My apologies to the cast and crew, the death of cultural icon and glam rock god David Bowie has hit me harder than anticipated. This review was delayed by my selfish human emotions.
-Kitty Drexel, Reviewer

“To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.”
Paul R. Ehrlich

“To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.”
Hubert H. Humphrey

(Boston, MA) One of the reasons artists write about the future and/or the past is to show how human behavior remains the same regardless of the passage of time. Human hearts and heads tangle up in the same figurative knots no matter what century it is. Science and the evolution of reason only confuse matters. People will be people until they aren’t anymore. Continue reading