Dec 19

Sex, Lies & Antlers: “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues”

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Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Company
By Jeff Goode
Directed by Mikey DiLoreto and Lizette M. Morris

December 17-22, 2013
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The Factory Theatre
791 Tremont St. Boston, MA
Happy Medium Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston) Difficult issues are difficult to tackle. It seems simplistic to put things this way, but of the theatre I’ve seen which attempts to handle “BIG PROBLEMS”, the vast majority is markedly ineffective.

This comes from a variety of factors: it’s easy to devolve into bad writing habits when you’ve got a hot-button issue on your hands. I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve been bludgeoned with the two-by-four of justice or honestly by a well-meaning playwright who was simply trying to engage with society’s greater schema. Unfortunately, those instances have been so traumatic that I’ve managed to wipe most of them from my memory and replaced them with visions of dancing sugarplums. Continue reading

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Dec 19

Appalachian Comedy and Backwoods Humor in “Sand Mountain”

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Presented by The Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Romulus Linney
Directed by Daniel Bourque

December 13-21, 2013
First Church Boston
66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA
Hub Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Romulus Linney’s Appalachian play is a strange, Frankenstein’d animal of a comedy.  It combines two stories about marriage and society on Sand Mountain, an Alabama sandstone plateau.  The first half, Sand Mountain Matchmaking, is about the unlucky love life of the widow Rebecca Tull (Lauren Elias) as she searches for an appropriate suitor.  Act II, Why The Lord Come to Sand Mountain, is a twistier story featuring Jesus (Robert Orzalli) and Saint Peter (Yoni Bronstein) as they spend a night with a backwoods family.  Both acts combine to create a folksy, down-home play, one a little too saccharine to feel credible but fun none-the-less. Continue reading

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Dec 11

OMIGODUGUYS! : “Legally Blonde”

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Photo Credit: AFD’s Facebook page; Cai Radleigh, Shannon Cheong and cast.

Presented by Arlington Friends of the Drama
Music and Lyrics by Laurcen O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin
Book by Heather Hach
Directed by James Tallach
Music Direction by Stephen Peters
Choreography by Theresa Melito

Dec. 6 – Dec. 22, 2013
Charles Mosesian Theater
22 Academy St. Arlington MA
AFD on Facebook

Disclaimer: Queen of the Geeks, Kitty Drexel is involved in this production. The following review takes this into consideration and was written and edited accordingly.

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Arlington) Adaptation is an odd and fickle creature. In the rash of non-musical-movie to Broadway adaptations that have hit the theatre scene over the course of the last five or ten years, we’ve seen everything from Julie Taymore’s travesty (Spiderman: Turn off the Dark), to the possibly better-than-its-source Spamalot.

Legally Blonde is one that has a soft spot in my heart simply because Reese Witherspoon in her dayglow-pink skirted suits has always been something of an inspiration to me. Here’s a woman who’s hot, smart, and makes both work for her in her own way without conforming to society’s boxes. Legally Blonde was also the first film in my conscious memory that showed me a “popular girl” with a heart of gold. Elle Woods has never stood for changing people (unlike her predecessor Cher Horowitz), but rather helping the women around her see value in what they are. Really; who couldn’t use a little bend and snap now and again? Continue reading

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Dec 10

Song, Cheer, and Social Misfits: “A Christmas Carol”

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Presented by Anthem Theatre Company
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Steve Wargo
Musical Arrangements by Dianne Adams-McDowell
Directed by Michael Poignand

12/5/2013 — 12/21/2013
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Black Box Theater
Boston, MA
Anthem Theatre Co on Facebook

2 hours, 15 minutes with one intermission.

 

 

 

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Though remembered largely as a cheerful, life-affirming tale about learning to embrace kindness, A Christmas Carol is, really, a ghost story. Ebenezer Scrooge (Kevin B. McGlynn) contemplates loneliness and the end of his life as he’s visited by spirits that embody his past, present, and future. Anthem Theatre Company gives us a stripped down Victorian play, a musical with literal Christmas carols to color a melancholy London and the workhouse realities of its Industrial Revolution. Continue reading

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Dec 09

Fading into the Woodwork: STELLA AND LOU

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Displaying Stella-and-Lou-dress-rehearal-compressed (1).jpg

Photo by Meghan Moore.

presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Bruce Graham
Directed by Charles Towers

November 29th – December 22nd, 2013
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) Nelson Mandela once said, “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”  Yet many of us cling onto being small all our lives.  Doing a play about that intentional smallness can be tricky without having the play succumb to smallness itself. Continue reading

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Dec 09

Life (Instructions Not Included): BECKY’S NEW CAR

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http://www.lyricstage.com/uploads/presskit/MSH_1548%20cropped.jpg

Photo by Mark S. Howard.

presented by The Lyric Stage Company
by Steven Dietz
Directed by Larry Coen
Production sponsored by Tim & Linda Holiner

November 29th – December 22nd
140 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA
Lyric Stage on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) Film, literature and theater are filled with midlife crises.  The plotlines for men offer them the chance to break away from office meetings and drudgery to lead a life of adventure and get the girl (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty).  For women, the midlife crisis plotline offers a chance to break free from the ties that bind, to take a vacation from a family, and to have some great sex (The Bridges of Madison County).  Too often, things either resolve too well or too tragically, but always too neatly.  The explosion.  The choice.  The last goodbye.  Fade out. Continue reading

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Dec 02

Getting a Rise out of their Audience: THE SLUTCRACKER

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This production is intended for a mature audience only (18+). It depicts (albeit with great humor and entertainment value) graphic sexual acts and adult material. The following review is written for the same audience; please proceed accordingly and stop reading if you believe you may be offended by nudity, sexual content, and/or anything that calls itself “The Slutcracker”.

Photo care of the Slutcracker facebook page.

Directed and adapted by Vanessa White
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

November 30th – December 31st, 2013
Somerville Theatre
55 Davis Square
Somerville, MA
The Slutcracker on Facebook

(Somerville) Every year for the holiday season, the Babes in Boinkland take the good denizens of the Boston burlesque scene on a journey of fantastical fornication, sensational shtuping, and beautiful buggering.  This year, of course, is no exception.  If you appreciate the human form, are a fan of high ballet, and/or have a sense of humor about sexuality, why are you even questioning if you should see this show?  Go buy a ticket, and come, come, come to Somerville for a Christmas treat with more dick than Dickens. Continue reading

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Nov 25

Nothing is but What Is Not: “Macbeth”

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Presented by F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Joey DeMita
Original Music by Steven Bergman

November 22 – 30th, 2013
Arsenal Center for the Arts
F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Watertown) Some projects require a special touch.  There are, for instance, people who implicitly understand Musicals.  The musical form requires things that other theatre does not: an eye for choreography, an ear for music, an interest in balancing ham and legitimate acting…

Directing Shakespeare is a very specific task that requires a very specific skillset: an ear for rhetoric, an understanding of verse, a knowledge of history, an eye for embedded stage directions… F.U.D.G.E.’s Joey DeMita has none of these skills. Continue reading

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Nov 20

Kissinger Would Have Cried: MISS SAIGON

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http://www.nsmt.org/images/Press/2013/MissSaigon/production/NSMT-MissSaigon-Engineer.jpg

Francis Jue (Engineer) in North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Miss Saigon running through November 17, 2013. Photo © Paul Lyden

­Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by: CLAUDE-MICHEL SCHONBERG
Lyrics by: RICHARD MALTBY, JR., and ALAIN BOUBLIL
Original French Lyrics by: ALAIN BOUBLIL
Additional Material by: RICHARD MALTBY, JR.
Directed and Choreographed by: RICHARD STAFFORD

November 5th – November 17th, 2013
North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

It’s not often that a soap opera can double as a critique of American foreign policy, but North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Miss Saigon succeeds in creating a surreal love story in which American exceptionalism finds its gory limits. Continue reading

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Nov 15

As The Screw Turns: Simple Machine’s “Turn of the Screw”

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Photo Credit: Kyler Taustin Photography

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Presented by Simple Machine
By Jeffrey Hatcher; Adapted from the novella by Henry James

November 8-23, 2013
The Taylor House Bed and Breakfast
50 Burroughs St. Boston MA 02130

The Gibson House Museum
137 Beacon St. Boston MA
02116
Simple Machine on Facebook

Good News! The run has been extended.
Saturday, November 23 at 4:30 PM, The Taylor House Bed & Breakfast
Sunday, November 24 at 7:30 PM, The Gibson House Museum

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston) Alright, so, here’s my deal: I wouldn’t say that Henry James is my nemesis mostly because I’m not ready to commit to him that deeply (a nemesis/hero relationship is, after all, a long, complex, and fraught one with ups, downs, and side-plots).  But I will say this: Henry James is at least on the super team of literary villains who have plagued my academic career. Continue reading

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