May 12

The Power of Shame: THE VOICES OF WE


Presented by 333 Productions and the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Written by Robbi D’Allessandro
Directed by Shana Gogansky

April 25 – May 9, 2015
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
Voices of We on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: domestic abuse, gun shots, political satire, kickass feminism

(Boston, MA) Trigger warnings abounded for The Voices of We. They were plentiful because the writing was effective and the acting was very good. The stories in Voices aren’t necessarily true to life but they could be true for someone. The point is that these stories are true enough to appear realistic in performance. In the case of the scenes with the most abundant triggers, the inherent realism should serve as a warning to audience members that we, as a society living these stories, have a long way to go.   Continue reading

May 11

On Golden Bay: THE OUTGOING TIDE

David Adkins, Ross Bickell, Felicity LaFortune. Photo by Meghan Moore.

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

April 23 – May 17, 2015
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
MRT on Facebook.

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) The decline of old age comes for so many of us, and yet there are few who are prepared to meet it on our own terms. In the powerful drama The Outgoing Tide, one patriarch races against time and his own failing memory to decide his fate in the face of dementia. This production is sure to spur thought-provoking discussions on aging and death, and it largely avoids the feel of a Lifetime Original medical drama of the week. We never lose sight of the individuality of the main character even as what makes him an individual slowly disintegrates. Continue reading

May 06

A Different Cup of Tea: BOXER SHORTS

Photo credit: Brown Box Theatre Project

Photo credit: Brown Box Theatre Project, “Play”

Presented by Brown Box Theatre Project
Works by Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Tenessee Williams, Diana Raznovich
Works directed by Darren Evans, Kyler Tausin, Anna Trachtman
Performed by Cameron Gosselin, Meredith Stypinski, Lizzie Milanovich, Johnny Quinones, Janelle Mills

Boston: April 24 – May 3, 2015
Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress St

Delmarva: May 8 – 11, 2015
Ocean City Center for the Arts
Ocean City, MD
Brown Box on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Brown Box Theatre’s mission involves bringing accessible theatre to uncommonly accessible spaces. They’ve made a home on Atlantic Wharf and Delmarva (MD). Their current production Boxer Shorts: an evening of short plays brings many genres to the same stage. In one sitting, the audience experiences a range of theatre from the mundane to the absurd. The result is an interesting evening of entertainment with varying levels of success. Continue reading

May 04

High Velocity Surrealism or, Buckle Up, It’s Going To Be A Bumpy Night: “The Grand Parade (of the 20th Century)”

This video has been slowed down considerably to protect the innocent.

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Produced by Double Edge Theatre
Conceived, designed, and directed by Stacy Klein
Composed by Alexander Bakshi
Music and vocal direction by Lyudmila Bakshi

April 30 – May 3, 2015
Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Strobe effect, Gunshots

One hour with no intermission.

(Boston, MAStacy Klein writes in her director’s note that Grand Parade (of the 20th Century) pairs the dream-like works of Marc Chagall with the “extreme conflicts” of the twentieth century. Images from his paintings are reflected in the troupes’ depiction of significant events in American history. Her intention as designer, director and co-creator was to “(reflect) history through (the creators’) own eyes” as “the only way to speak to (their) desires for the future.” If what Klein and Double Edge presented is their vision of the future, we are doomed; Grand Parade is a hot mess. Continue reading

Apr 25

Integrity Sells for So Little: CITY OF ANGELS

Photo by Mark S. Howard

Photo by Mark S. Howard

Presented by Lyric Stage Co. of Boston
Book by Larry Gelbart
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by David Zippel
Vocal arrangements by Cy Coleman and Yaron Gershovsky
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Music direction by Catherine Stornetta
Choreography & musical staging by Rachel Bertone

March 27 – May 2, 2015
Boston, MA
Lyric on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) City of Angels pays homage to film noir with tongue firmly in cheek sexual innuendo and integrated design film tropes. The Lyric Stage Co. of Boston brings life to this beloved musical with panache and two shakes of wit with inspired clever projection design by Jonathan Carr and zippy choreography by Rachel Bertone. This production is great fun. The book and lyrics are clever. The score, vocal and instrumental, is inherently singable. The artistic upsides far outweigh the downsides. An evening spent at COA is one well spent. Continue reading

Apr 16

Scaping the Serpent’s Tongue: “Shit-Faced Shakespeare”

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Photo care of Magnificent Bastard Productions

Photo care of Magnificent Bastard Productions

Presented by Magnificent Bastard Productions
Produced by Gabriel Kuttner and Daniel Berger-Jones in association with Cambridge Historical Tours

April 15 – May 1, 2015
Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street Somerville
Magnificent Bastards on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Somerville, MA) Everybody’s got that one friend. That friend who goes to a party (…or the bar, or any function where booze is readily available), has a bit too much, turns absolutely hilarious, but then the real conundrum begins: who is going to take care of “that friend”? John did it last time (to great disaster for the interior of John’s car); Sally isn’t much of a caregiver and would probably have “that friend” weeping openly on the floor of the bathroom in about ten minutes flat; and Bob doesn’t care for “that friend”. That just leaves you. Congratulations, you’ve now been saddled with the responsibility of taking care of this adult/child because “that friend” (as usual) couldn’t be bothered to know their own limits (despite the fact that you’ve been out of college for ten years now and shouldn’t “that friend” know better?). Suddenly, what was once a fun and exciting party is a tiresome (and stressful) burden. Continue reading

Apr 16

“The Big One” Has Big Heart But Feels Under-Done

11107735_10206307386668624_3810527196770342390_nPresented by Lesley University
Written by Liv Cummins, Sandy McKnight
Directed by Liv Cummins
Music direction by Elena Blyskal

April 9-12, 2015
Lesley University
Marran Theater
34 Mellen Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
The Big One on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

Lesley University’s pop/rock musical is, at best, is benign and rather sweet. A number of struggling Los Angeles songwriters gather in the basement of a dilapidated building at the guidance of Paul (Ryan Bevard) to workshop their music. The goal of each workshop participant is to hit it big with their work, to be featured in a commercial, movie, or by a well-known artist. Meanwhile, California itself prepares for a “big hit” from the end result of a series of earthquakes. There’s a lot of charm to its plot and character arcs, but Liv Cummins and Sandy McKnight’s show doesn’t quite come together. Continue reading

Apr 14

First Few Rows Will Not Get Wet: THE CLYTEMNESTRIAD

Photo credit: Fresh Ink Theatre, Jade Guerra tearing it up at Clytemnestra.

Photo credit: Fresh Ink Theatre, Jade Guerra tearing it up as Clytemnestra.

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre
Written by A. Nora Long
Directed by Caitlin Lowans
Dramaturgy by Ramona Ostrowski

April 10 – 18, 2015
The Hale Chapel at First Church
Boston, MA
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warning: Strobe effect

(Boston, MA) Homer’s Iliad tells us that Agamemnon fought bravely at Troy for ten years to reunite Helen and Menelaus. Greek myth tells us that when Agamemnon returned from the Trojan War, his wife Clytemnestra murdered him in the bath. Depending on the myth the particulars of who, why and how differ. What is evident is Clytemnestra’s retention of power and eventual murder at the hands of her children after the fact. A. Nora Long’s The Clytemnestriad follows the events leading up to and after Agamemnon’s death from the perspective of his wife, Clytemnestra. Continue reading

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