Oct 01

imaginary beasts Will KNOCK! You Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Photo by Roger Metcalf

Photo by Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
By Daniil Kharms
Directed by Matthew Wood
Dramaturgy by Matthew McMahan

Sept. 26 – Oct. 18, 2014
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) A joke in the absurdist, Stalin-era work of Daniil Kharms is the same as a violent pratfall: random, shocking in its flippancy, and somehow charming.  The punchlines in Knock! The Daniil Kharms Project involve a man forgetting his name due to a number of bricks dropped on his head or a romantic couple disappearing in the middle of the night by the secret police.  Utilizing a fun, avant-garde set design by Christopher Bocchiaro and Matthew Woods, imaginary creatures adapts Kharms’ experimental black humor with confidence. The theatre group doesn’t let anything like a sketchy plot or a lingering sense of doom from an oppressive government get in the way of a good time. Continue reading

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Sep 29

Full of Cozenage: COMEDY OF ERRORS

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Photo courtesy Stratton McCrady Photography

Photo courtesy Stratton McCrady Photography

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Directed by David R. Gammons

September 24 – October 19, 2014
Brighton High School
26 Warren St. Brighton, MA
The Actors’ Shakespeare Project on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Brighton, MA) Life is a circus, my friends, and if that’s clear anywhere it’s clear in ASP’s Comedy of Errors. David R. Gammons gives us a Comedy within the frame of a has-been circus. As you walk into the theatre, you find the stage already teeming with life: a cast of rag-tag and second-rate clowns struggles to prepare for their show. I, for one, was curious as to why one of the only professional Shakespeare companies in Boston was performing in a High School auditorium. At least, until I walked into the high school auditorium. The space perfectly suits Gammons’ concept as it looks like the ruins of a once-grand theatre. Stripped to its studs, there is no veneer of illusion in Comedy; just bare-bones performance. Continue reading

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Sep 26

Can’t Get No Satisfaction: THE SINGULARITY

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Presented by Science Fiction Theatre Company
By Crystal Jackson
Directed by Cait Robinson

Sept. 19 – Oct. 5, 2014
The Factory Theater
Boston, MA
SF Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The moral of The Singularity is that if women don’t have access to the safe, affordable health care, they’ll do what they must to get it unaffordably and unsafely.  For example, if access to safe abortions is severely limited or denied outright that doesn’t mean that women won’t have abortions. It means that more women will die having unsafe, illegal abortions*. Playwright Crystal Jackson attacks the opposite of safe abortion in this comedy presented by Science Fiction Theatre Co. Continue reading

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Sep 23

Announcing Don’t Speak Cabaret Benefit for Reproductive Rights

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Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street, New York, NY, 10010
Tickets:  $25 – $115 at http://metropolitanroom.com/event.cfm?id=164797&cart or by calling 212-206-0440.

NEW YORK, NY – Broadway, Off-Broadway, and up-and-coming NY talent raise their voices for reproductive rights at the Don’t Speak Cabaret Benefit at the Metropolitan Room on Sunday, October 26 at 9:30pm.

Jessica Phillips (Leap of Faith, Law & Order, SVU), Sarah Drake (New England premieres Next to Normal and Carrie), Sean Harkness (Windham Hill Records [Sony/RCA/BMG]) , Samantha Owen (Forbidden Broadway), Erick Pinnick (A Christmas Carol, The Tin Pan Alley Rag), T. Oliver Reid (After Midnight, Mary Poppins) donate their talent and time to raise awareness and celebrate women’s strength and freedom. Rebecca Elliott, Morgan Frazer, Becca Kidwell, Anna Kirkland, Molly Maynard, Clare Mione, and Parker Scott also lend their voices for the cause.

All proceeds from the event go to The Center for Reproductive Rights. Continue reading

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Sep 23

Patients Are People Too: THE FORGETTING CURVE

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Presented by Bridge Repertory Theatre & Theatrum Mundi Productions
in association with Alan Swanke, Cole Burden & Playhouse Creatures Theatre Co.
Information resourced from Memory’s Ghost: The Nature of Memory and the Strange Tale of Mr. M, by Phillip J. Hilts

By Vanda
Directed by Kimerly Loren Eaton

Sept. 4 – 27, 2014
Wimberly Stage
Calderwood Pavilion at the
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St, Boston
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings: vintage sexism, reenactment of seizures/chronic illness, sweet lesbian love

(Boston, MA) The Forgetting Curve is about a family whose trust is abused by doctors. Patient HM (Henry Gustav Molaison, Feb. 26, 1926 – Dec. 2, 2008) suffered seizures as a teenager. To stop his otherwise untreatable epilepsy, surgeons removed the anterior two thirds of his hippocampi and other areas of his brain. At the time, doctors were unaware that, by removing his hippocampi, HM would essentially be incapable of retaining new memories. They turned HM into a high school educated goldfish with their experiments. Continue reading

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Sep 19

Pretty to Watch, Messy to Contemplate: FAR FROM HEAVEN

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Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. Look at those costumes!

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Book by Richard Greenberg
Music by Scott Frankel
Lyrics by Michael Korie
Based on the Focus Features/Vulcan Production Motion Picture, Written & Directed by Todd Haynes

Directed by Scott Edmiston
Musical Direction by Steven Bergman
Choreography by David Connolly

Sept. 12 – Oct. 11, 2014
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) In 1957, Betty Friedan conducted a survey of Smith College graduates to celebrate their 15th anniversary. When she discovered that many of her contemporaries were deeply unhappy, she expanded her research to include other US suburban housewives. She continued her research into psychology and other social sciences. Her studies found a “problem that has no name,” a depression among women despite their ensured physical and emotional comforts. A life revolving around marriage and children was deeply unfulfilling.

This study and her corresponding writings were the basis for The Feminine Mystique, a book that sparked the second-wave of feminism. Published in 1963, it has played an influential part in assuring a modern woman’s right to equality. Women who work outside of the home owe a large part of their freedoms to Friedan and the women who worked with her. Friedan began her survey the same year that Far From Heaven begins. Continue reading

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Sep 16

All Cucumbers and Hooves: UNDER MILK WOOD

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Photo courtesy of Artsboston; a picture of the cast at the reading with Mr. Scanlan in the front.

Photo courtesy of Artsboston; photo was grabbed from the Poet’s Theatre FB page.  A picture of the cast at the reading with Mr. Scanlan in the front.

A celebration in honor of the revival of The Poet’s Theatre and the centennial of the Author’s birth.

Presented by The Poet’s Theatre
By Dylan Thomas
Directed by Bob Scanlan

Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall
Harvard University
Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 @ 7pm ONLY
Poet’s Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“…the idea that I write a piece, a play, an impression for voices, an entertainment out of the town I live in, and to write it simply and warmly and comically, with lots of movement and varieties of moods, so that, at many levels, through sight and speech, description and dialogue, evocation and parody, you come to know the town as an inhabitant of it.”
– Dylan Thomas – Collected Letters edited by Paul Ferris (London: Dent, 2000 (new edition)

(Cambridge, MA) Under Milk Wood is a radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. It was performed on the stage during Thomas’ lifetime (and by Thomas himself). It became a movie directed by Andrew Sinclair, and featured Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O’Toole, in 1972. For his centennial, the BBC has a site devoted to a recent film production of Under Milk Wood. All of this is mentioned because not nearly enough Americans have an appreciation for Thomas’ work –  aside from his famous poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” His work is elegant, romantic, and, best yet, free to read on the internet or in a library. It is a worthwhile, mind-expanding endeavor to read as much of his collected works. If not for your own sake, then to woo a paramour or two. Continue reading

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Sep 12

Children Will Listen and Learn: GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER

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Photo: Paul Marotta; Meredith Forlenza and Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Photo: Paul Marotta; Meredith Forlenza and Malcolm-Jamal Warner – they make a stupidly beautiful couple.

Presented by Huntington Theatre Co
By Todd Kreidler
Based on the screenplay by William Rose
Directed by David Esbjornson

Sept. 5 – Oct. 5, 2014
BU Theatre
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) There are certain conservative republicans that like to argue that racism is finally dead. They are deeply incorrect. It’s 2014 and racism is thriving in the United States of America. It affects everyone and everything. To get into the nitty gritty, please see this Wikipedia article which is currently very good. Who knows how long the populace will let it stay that way.

Racism is so prevalent in everyday culture that bigotry tainted events occur and most people can’t even see it. Take for instance, the couple sitting in front of me last night at the Huntington theatre that was patiently waiting for the show to start. An usher asked to see their tickets as there seemed to be some seat mix up with a couple in the aisle. The usher had intended to interrogate the seated couple and move them… until the standing couple pointed out that the usher was attempting to seat them in the incorrect row. The usher responded, “my bad,” and moved the couple to their seats. The seated couple was Black. The usher and the standing couple were White. The appropriated idiom circa 2004 was horrifying. Continue reading

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Sep 09

It Might as Well Be 1963: “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline”

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Presented by the Peterborough Players
A musical about the legendary country singer by Dean Regan
Directed by Tom Frey
Music directed by Ellen Mandel

Sept. 3 – 14, 2014
55 Hadley Road
Peterborough, NH 03458
Peterborough Players on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings – vintage racism

(Peterborough, NH) The musical’s title, A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline references her cover of the gospel song and last single, “Just A Closer Walk with Thee.” Just as Cline sings about her desire to walk with God, this musical expresses Dean Regan’s wish for just one more concert communion with Cline. To those who worship at the church of song, A Closer Walk was a spiritual experience of the musical variety. Bridget Beirne is so good in the title role that audiences might have gotten their wish. Continue reading

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Sep 08

“Sweeney Todd” Delights in Dire Tragedy

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Christopher Chew, Paul C. Soper. Photo by Mark S. Howard

Photo by Mark S. Howard. Christopher Chew, Paul C. Soper.

Presented by the Lyric Stage of Boston
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed & Staged by Spiro Veloudos
Music Director, Jonathan Goldberg

Sept. 5 – Oct. 11, 2014
140 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116
Lyric on Facebook

Review Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) In today’s entertainment landscape, probably the most surprising thing about The Lyric Stage’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is how un-sexy it makes murder. No, grisly death probably shouldn’t be attractive as a rule, but television shows like Hannibal and Dexter and even some thriller novels give serial killers a stylized warmth. Blood is splashed artfully over plastic tarps and cannibalized flesh is prepared with exquisite attention to detail for unsuspecting dinner guests. Stephen Sondheim’s infamous musical gives us only Sweeney Todd’s icy vengeance, spinning more out of control with every throat he slits in his barber’s chair, and Mrs. Lovett’s questionable baking skills. Continue reading

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