Aug 29

Thunder, Lightening, and Rain: MACBETH

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Credit: Brown Box Theatre Project

Credit: Brown Box Theatre Project

A play by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kyle Taustin
Presented by Brown Box Theatre Project

August 22 – 31, 2014
Various outdoor venues around Boston

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Around Boston) Look, you just can’t beat free outdoor Shakespeare. A picnic basket, a good friend or two, and the immortal words of the sweet swan of Avon resounding amidst mother nature’s glory is just where it’s at, folks. It’s particularly poetic to see Macbeth, a play about the slow descent into the darker parts of man, performed under deepening darkness. Continue reading

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Aug 29

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back: PYGMALION

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Photo credit: Flat Earth Theatre

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By George Bernard Shaw
Edited/directed by Devon Jones

August 22-30, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: Sexism, Racism, Classism

(Watertown, MA) My Fair Lady is derived from Shaw’s Pygmalion. Pygmalion is derived from the Greek myth by the same name from Ovid’s Metamorphosis. It is the story of a sculptor, Pygmalion, who fell so hard in love with his sculpture that the goddess Aphrodite brought it to life. The sculpture isn’t given a name or granted personhood in the myth. Similarly, affluent Henry Higgins refuses to see impoverished Eliza Doolittle as more than a parroting animal until she provokes him into heated arguments. In addition to sexism and classism, the play’s dialogue also discusses racism. Flat Earth’s production includes actors of color. It takes a long, hard look at what it means to experience color, gender and educational privilege against the backdrop of London’s great equalizer: Tube delays. Continue reading

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Aug 26

Sweet and Playful Ladies: LITTLE WOMEN

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Presented by Peterborough Players: Second Company
Adapted by Gus Kaikkonen
from the novel by Louisa May Alcott
Directed by Charlie Morgan
Compositions by/adapted by Ellen Mandel

August 23, 26, 29, 30 at 2pm; August 25 at 7pm
55 Hadley Road
Peterborough, NH 03458
Peterborough Players on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Peterborough, NH) The adaptation of Little Women by Gus Kaikkonen for Peterborough’s summer stock is sweet and playful without being saccharine. Kaikkonen has concentrated the lengthy classic by Louisa May Alcott into five charming scenes. This play gives us the same adventures of the March family within a toddler-approved time frame of 90 minutes. The acting is strong from the Players’ Second Company. There is lovely entr’acte music by Ellen Mandel. Little Women is a healthy summer diversion in the forests of New Hampshire. Continue reading

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Aug 25

Banish John Falstaff: Henry the 4th

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Presented by Theater@First
A New Adaption of William Shakespeare’s Histories
Directed by Shelley MacAskill

August 21st – 30th
Unity Somerville
6 William Street, Somerville
Theatre@First on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Somerville) Shakespeare’s histories can be problematic to bring to the stage. In these plays, the usual issues of Shakespearean verse and thick language are compounded with cinematic scope, characters sometimes too big to be readily believable, and all kinds of crazy epic battle scenes. Compounding two histories into one doubles the trouble. Henry the 4th is a conflation of the two parts of Henry IV relying mostly upon part 1 with some of the more salient and dramatic moments of part 2 tacked onto the play’s end. Continue reading

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Aug 18

Needs Oil, But Still Burns Rubber: GREASE

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Photo © Paul Lyden

Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book, music, lyrics by Warren Casey & Jim Jacobs
Directed by Mark Martino
Music directed by Craig Barna
Choreographed by Mark Stuart

August 12th – August 24th, 2014
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) The backstory behind the script for the musical “Grease” is that writers Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey locked themselves away to write a bunch of 50’s era songs, and then tried to piece together a plot to fit the songs together. This sounds like a recipe for a disaster of a script, and for a long time I personally thought the plot flimsy and vacant. Continue reading

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Aug 15

“God Hates Musicals” but Quite Clearly Loves Everyone

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Presented by Ministry of Theatre
Book by Joe Creedon
Lyrics by Emily Laverdiere
Composed by Bryan Dunn

Directed by Joe Creedon
Music direction by Steve Sarro
Choreography by Jackie Simon

August 13 – 24, 2014
TheatreLab@855
Boston University
GHM on Facebook

TriggersSlurs, emotional violence, speaking in tongues

Review by Kitty Drexel

In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I did audition for this musical and was not cast. It is my firm belief that only a narcissistic ass would allow something like that to color their review.

(Boston) The men who wrote the Bible (believe what you may, it was Man that compiled and interpreted the word of God) made it pretty clear that God loves us all. Jesus tried his darnedest to teach the masses that God loves us equally. Yet, despite these truths, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) actively refutes this. In fact, they go out of their way to tell anyone who will listen that, unless you repent, they are damned to Hell. The WBC pickets funerals and other events to convey their message. They believe that they spread their core message,“God hates fags,” out of love. Pull the other one. Continue reading

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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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