Apr 13

Daniil Kharms Continues to Charm in imaginary beasts’ Betty Bam!

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
Directed by Matthew Woods, Joey C. Pelletier, and Michael Underhill
Written by Daniil Kharms
Translation by Zoya Derman
Adapted by The Ensemble

April 10 – May 2, 2015
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) The innovative and evocative imaginary beasts continue with their year-long exploration of Stalinist-era author, Daniil Kharms, with Betty Bam! Their last attack on his material, KNOCK!, was a condensed affair, a multi-character and multi-story primer on Kharms’ bleak humor and deeply unsettling monologues. The actors took pratfalls and grafted the absurdist theater onto a sort of vaudeville act. In Betty Bam!, the visual nods remain in the early-twentieth century, but the aesthetic switches to black and white film, page-boy cuts, and a set styled into a cartoon explosion. The five actresses who depict Betty Bam’s fractured identity (Beth Pearson, Amy Meyer, Molly Kimmerling, Sarah Gazdowicz, and Kiki Samko) are each a live action Betty Boop caught in an explosion of a different sort, one that takes the guise of an interruption into their life: the police, Ivan (Cameron Cronin) and Pytor (William Schuller). As with KNOCK!, the police are an oppressive force, one here to take Betty to an unknown fate. The action of taking her away makes up the entirety of the plot. Continue reading

Apr 10

Enjoyably Odd and Oddly Enjoyable: ORLANDO

Photo credit: Bad Habit Productions

Photo credit: Bad Habit Productions

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
Virgina Woolf’s Orlando
Adapted by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Daniel Morris

April 4-April 19, 2014
Deane Hall at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Identity and discovery are heavily explored in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, a work that spans continents, time, and gender.  Initially written as a joke of a biography for a fellow artist in the early 20th century, this more recent adaptation puts Woolf’s language forward while sacrificing character development.  This complex creation scratches the surface of a meaty, subtle series of discussions even the novel Orlando could not fully deliver. Continue reading

Apr 06

Arlington Friends of the Drama presents NINE

360_9-postcard-1

Arlington Friends of the Drama presents

NINE

Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston and Book by Arthur Kopit

Performance dates: April 10,11,12,17,18,19,24,25,26, 2015

 Director/Choreographer: Jennifer Condon       Music Director: Mario Cruz

This extraordinary musical tells the story of film director, Guido Contini, and his attempts to devise a plot for his next film as he is being pursued by sexy, beautiful women each clamoring to be loved by him and him alone. He finally decides to use the substance of his life, told through flashbacks, to create a musical version of the Casanova story. Through these flashbacks involving relationships with the women in his life – his mother, the Nuns that schooled him, his mistress, and a prostitute among others – we watch him drift towards a nervous breakdown (what we would call a mid-life crisis today) from which he is held back by the support of his wife, Luisa. What makes this piece outstanding is the richness with which it has been imagined and the way all the pieces fit together. This masterpiece owes its life to the worlds of opera, concert, and musical theatre; it defies categorization.

 

 

Apr 03

From the Back of the House to Center Stage: LIFERS

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Written by John Shea and Maureen Cornell
Directed by Brett Marks
Produced by Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions

March 20-April 4, 2015
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Boston, MA
Happy Medium and Argos on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions have joined forces to bring to life a piece of Bostonian, working class history in Lifers.  At an enjoyable hour and a half even with a ten minute intermission, this well-edited and lively play is an ode to the people who make your meal at a local diner possible. Continue reading

Apr 01

You Won’t Sit in Solemn Silence: THE MIKADO

Photo: Steppenwolf Garage

Photo: Steppenwolf Garage

Presented by The Hypocrites
By Gilbert and Sullivan
Directed and Adapted by Sean Graney

March 31 – April 5, 2015
Club Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
The Hypocrites on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) Hold onto your hats, the Hypocrites are back at the Oberon. The Mikado is alive, vivacious, and everything a modern audience could ask for from Gilbert and Sullivan unplugged. Continue reading

Mar 31

Push It Real Good: LOOT

Photo courtesy of Hub Theatre Co of Boston

Photo courtesy of Hub Theatre Co of Boston

Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Joe Orton
Directed by Daniel Bourque
Dialect coaching by Meredith Stypinski
Fight choreography by Johnnie McQuarley

March 27-April 12, 2015
First Church Boston
66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA
Hub on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Playwright Joe Orton was an out gay man at a time when it was not only unfashionable but also highly illegal. Orton died in August 1967. Just one month shy of the passing of Britain’s Sexual Offences Act (amendment), which made acts such as kissing, hand holding, or plain old love between two men legal in the privacy of one’s home (it was still illegal to be homosexual in public. Baby stepping progress is still progress). Orton further pushed the hetero-normative envelope by incorporating his penchant for personal freedom in his writings. Orton’s flagrant disdain for authority and hypocritical social ethics are on proud display in Hub Theatre Co’s production of Loot. Orton’s script is not successful as art but it’s message rings profoundly clear: convention can go hang itself. Continue reading

Mar 30

Two out of Three Ain’t Bad: “The Complete History of America (abridged)”

Photo courtesy of Jon Niketh

Photo courtesy of Jon Niketh

Presented by Arts After Hours
Book by Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor
Directed by James Tallach

March 27 – April 4
Rantoul Blackbox Theatre in LynnArts
25 Exchange Street, Lynn MA
Arts After Hours on Facebook

Review by Daniel Rosvally

(Lynn, MA) Listen, I know why the “Complete Works [abrgd]” series appeals to small theatres. With their cast of three can-be-anybody no-need-to-gender-or-type-bend parts; quirky, witty, wordy, and smart humor; fast-paced whirlwind nature; and high-demand for low-budge props and costumes, they’re pretty low-maintenance shows from a production standpoint. The Complete History of America (abridged) follows in the steps of its forefathers as steadfastly as drinking Sam Adams. The crew at Lynn After Hours has done a decent job in presenting something chuckle-worthy, but I will say that patrons who enjoyed a glass of wine before the show laughed much more frequently and with more vivaciousness than those of us who were stone sober. Continue reading

Mar 26

Stronger Than Fear: FROM THE DEEP

9067650_orig

PHOTO BY MARC J. FRANKLIN

Presented by Boston Public Works Theatre Company
by Cassie M. Seinuk
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

March 12 – 28, 2015
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Boston Public Works on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) From the Deep is not about the war on terror. It’s not even about terrorists. It’s about two men attempting to do the best they can with the nasty cards they are dealt. In the realm in which we see them, there is only suffering or not suffering. So, they try to turn the moments in which they are not suffering into moments that are happy. Happiness becomes relative. So do stability and health. This production from Boston Public Works Theatre Co, is about Man’s capacity to understand existence within a capacity for pain. Continue reading

Mar 24

Major and Minor Details: BIG FISH

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Book by John August
Music & Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Based on the Novel by Daniel Wallace and the Columbia Motion Picture Written by John August
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Assistant Director Alex Lonati
Musical Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Larry Sousa

MAR 13 – APR 11, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St.
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) I did not enjoy Big Fish. I did enjoy SpeakEasy’s production. The performances from the cast were, as always, exemplary but the script has many problems. Follow along as I list the major issues and make the conscious decision not to detail the minor ones. Continue reading