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
Tir Na Theatre on Facebook

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

Dec 07

“It’s Not About My Mother”: It’s About Fleetwood Mac

Photo credit: Nile Hawver

Photo credit: Nile Hawver

 

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre
By Lizzie Milanovich
Directed by Cassandra Lovering

December 4-12, 2015
The Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts
Fresh Ink Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) Location, location, location. That was the thought that crossed my mind as I took a seat at the Plaza Black Box Theatre, and just from looking over the set the placement of It’s Not About My Mother was perfect. Not only does the show itself take place in a basement, the theatre is located in a similar setting, which was welcomingly orienting. Continue reading

Dec 04

I Missed “The Wiz” for This: THE SNOW QUEEN

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures.

L-R: Nick Sulfaro as Kai, Aimee Doherty as the Snow Queen, and Victoria Britt as Gerda. Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Book by Kirsten Brandt and Rick Lombardo
Music by Haddon Kime
Lyrics by Kirsten Brandt, Rick Lombardo, and Haddon Kime
Additional music, stage direction and choreography by Rick Lombardo
Associate choreographer: Kelli Edwards
Musical direction by Emily Intersimone

Nov. 28 – Dec. 20, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) We critics want to write positive reviews. For the most part (I can’t speak for everyone), we enter a performance space sincerely hoping that the performance that follows will blow us out of the water with its exceptional talent, creativity, ingenuity and expression of the human condition. We want everyone to do well. Writing a negative review is a draining experience for a critic. The truth can be a bitter pill to swallow. Continue reading

Dec 04

Sharing the Joyful Word: BLACK NATIVITY

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Banner image borrowed from https://paramountboston.org/

Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity Dec. 2, 2015
Presented by Emerson College and National Center of Afro-American Artists
Book by Langston Hughes
Music & Lyrics chosen by Langston Hughes
Based on text from the Gospel of St. Luke
Executive Producer and Director: Voncille Ross
Assistant to the Director for Music: Stephen Hunter, Sr.
Choral Director for Children: Marilyn Andry
Choral Director for Adults: Milton L. Wright
Ballet Mistress: Desiree Springer

Dec. 4 – 20, 2015
ASL interpreted performances: Dec. 4, 6, 12, 13, 19, & 20, 2015
The Paramount Theater
Boston, MA
Paramount Theater on Facebook
Black Nativity Boston on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Performances are open to the public beginning on Friday, Dec. 4. I was invited to a dress rehearsal. This review will be based on the wonderful performance the NCAAA so graciously allowed me to attend on Dec. 2, 2015.

(Boston, MA) Jesus was a Jewish man from Israel. Israel shares a border with Egypt which is in Africa. His birthplace, Bethlehem, is approximately six miles from Jerusalem. It takes about five hours to get to Be’er Sheva from Bethlehem if you catch the right bus (thank you Googlemaps). From there, you could get within the borders of Africa if you really wanted to but the journey would be pointlessly rough. I mention this to prove a point: given the physical location of Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem on a map, it is highly unlikely that Jesus was the blonde haired, blue eyed, white man that Christians enjoy depicting today. You’d have to travel on foot through Lebanon, then Syria and finally Turkey, or voyage across the Mediterranean Sea to Greece or Italy before hitting any majority of white people… And that’s in 7-2 BCE. Good luck finding an agent willing to sell you travel insurance. Continue reading

Dec 01

“The Little Mermaid” Makes a Little Splash

Courtesy Fiddlehead Theatre Company/©Eric Antoniou

Courtesy Fiddlehead Theatre Company/©Eric Antoniou

Presented by Fiddlehead Theatre Company at The Strand Theatre
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Book by Doug Wright
Musical Direction by Charles Peltz

November 27-December 6, 2015
Dorchester, MA
Fiddlehead Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Dorchester, MA) Disney musicals are the foundation of almost all happy childhoods, so I was excited to see an extended version of the undersea fantasy that entranced my youthful eyes and ears. But the problem with Disney’s staged version of The Little Mermaid, the same part that left me slightly disappointed after seeing the show, is that it expands on something that is already so perfect in a way that feels forced and unnecessary. 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
Moonbox on Facebook

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
Huntington on Facebook

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 23

Festive and Fun: “A Civil War Christmas: an American Musical Celebration”

Photo image courtesy of the Facebook Page.

Photo image courtesy of the Facebook Page.

Presented by Wellesley College Theatre
Written by Paula Vogel
Music by Daryl Waters
Directed by Nora Hussey

November 18 – 22
Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre
Wellesly, MA
WCT on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

Christmas theatre is a very specific genre that requires a very particular mix to make effective (or even palatable).  The recipe starts with good old-fashioned holiday cheer; add a dash of nostalgia, a hint of history, a generous helping of family values, and (of course) finish with a generous sprinkling of festive music.  Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration has all the necessary ingredients for the Christmas genre, but actually performing it requires a special touch.  The piece’s simplistic dialogue which features such tropes as characters telling you who they are before they begin to speak (“In the West Wing of the White House, President Lincoln’s maid was cleaning the floor…. Hi, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show tonight?”) that have the danger to edge this play towards the realm of children’s theatre cheesiness, or satirical campiness. Continue reading

Nov 18

Women Are Kept Powerless on Purpose: “The Love of the Nightingale”

Photo by Tim Gurczak

Photo by Tim Gurczak

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Written by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw
Choreography by Tyler Catanella
Music direction and sound design by Bahar Royaee
Fight choreography by Rebecca Miller

Nov. 6 – 21, 2015
First Church Boston
66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA 02116
Hub Theatre on Facebook

Disclaimer: Mrs. Drexel did audition for this production and was not cast. She firmly believes that only a selfish ass would allow such a thing to taint her review.

Trigger warning: Gore, rape, feminist thought

Review by Kitty Drexel

“How do women still go out with guys, when you consider the fact that there is no greater threat to women than men? We’re the number one threat! To women! Globally and historically, we’re the number one cause of injury and mayhem to women. We’re the worst thing that ever happens to them!” – Louis C.K.

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” attributed to Margaret Atwood

(Boston, MA) The Love of the Nightingale is a Greek myth/morality tale that tells of the dangers of forcing women to be responsible for the sexualities of men. This self-aware play reduces gods and goddesses to the fears and urges of Man: if a dude behaves reprehensibly, it obviously must be the will of the gods. In the reality created by Wertenbaker, self-control and restraint are not wished by higher powers. Rape, victim blaming, unnecessary violence, and other terrible behaviors are. Gross. Continue reading