Dec 04

I Missed “The Wiz” for This: THE SNOW QUEEN

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures.

L-R: Nick Sulfaro as Kai, Aimee Doherty as the Snow Queen, and Victoria Britt as Gerda. Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Book by Kirsten Brandt and Rick Lombardo
Music by Haddon Kime
Lyrics by Kirsten Brandt, Rick Lombardo, and Haddon Kime
Additional music, stage direction and choreography by Rick Lombardo
Associate choreographer: Kelli Edwards
Musical direction by Emily Intersimone

Nov. 28 – Dec. 20, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) We critics want to write positive reviews. For the most part (I can’t speak for everyone), we enter a performance space sincerely hoping that the performance that follows will blow us out of the water with its exceptional talent, creativity, ingenuity and expression of the human condition. We want everyone to do well. Writing a negative review is a draining experience for a critic. The truth can be a bitter pill to swallow. Continue reading

Oct 17

One Out of Three Ain’t Good: “A Number”

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Written by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Clay Hopper

Oct. 10 – Nov. 1, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Apologies to the cast, crew and staff of A Number. Mrs. Drexel caught the sniffle plague and was unable to write intelligibly.

(Watertown, MA) Churchill throws us into the middle of the conflict: Salter (Dale Place) and son are violently discussing the son’s birth origins. Regardless of the half-truths Salter weaves, it is made clear that the Bernards (Nael Nacer) is one of any number of clones. The Bernards hate each other. Salter must come to terms with his rash decision to play God. In her pithy way, Churchill approaches identity, the morality of cloning by way of personal property, and the timeless conflict between nature and nurture. Continue reading

Sep 22

If You’re Alive, You’re Afraid: BROKEN GLASS

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Rep Theatre in partnership with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA Boston Chapter).
Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Jim Petosa

Sept. 5 – 27, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) It is no wonder that America didn’t suspect that Adolf Hilter was a major threat to Europe, Germany, or the world. His staff lead a campaign that depicted him as a congenial yet private Everyman with a love of children and the outdoors. This branding made Hitler out to be a decent guy, not the Jew, intellectual, and LGBT hating dictator he was. America didn’t recognize Hitler for the power-hungry villain he was until it was almost too late. Marketing works, people. Raw Story has an excellent, rather brief article up. I highly suggest reading it for theatrical and historical perspective. Continue reading

Aug 04

Balance Amidst the Loneliness: ORDINARY DAYS

Photo credit: The Opposite of People

Photo credit: The Opposite of People

Presented by The Opposite of People  
Music & Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Directed by Cara Guappone
Musical direction by Samantha Prindiville

July 30th – August 2nd, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
OoP on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) Ordinary Days is a sweet, funny musical set in NYC by living composer (!) Adam Gwon. The Opposite of People took this cute but choppy, Jason Robert Brown-esque musical and gave it breadth in the Arsenal Center for the Arts. It had a slow start but it developed into a lovely production that shows promise for this fledgling company. Continue reading

Jul 14

Thank you and Goodbye: MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG

Photo credit: FUDGE Theatre Co. (courtesy of Facebook)

Photo credit: Matt Phillips (courtesy of Facebook)

Presented by F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by George Furth
Music direction by Steven Bergman
Directed by Joey DeMita

July 10 – 18, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA 02472
FUDGE on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MAMerrily We Roll Along is Company meets Kiss Me Kate. This musical is what happens when Sondheim runs out of ideas and starts throwing what appear to be events based on an autobiographical story onto the stage. There’s singing, dancing and several broken hearts. This is a belty show with many great solos for singers. Mainly there’s a narcissist with his head so far up his own ass that he can’t tell when enough is finally enough. It’s also an incomplete mess that F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Co. did a pretty great job of making entertaining.      Continue reading

Jun 23

Full STE(A)M Ahead: “The Farnsworth Invention”

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

June 12 – 27, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) It would be awesome for the good people at Epic Rap Battles of History to pit Philo Farnsworth against David Sarnoff. According to The Farnsworth Invention, these boys reached Telsa/Edison levels of rivalry. That would make for some great entertainment.

Sorkin’s play is an inaccurate account of the race to invent television. It is told via dual narration between David Sarnoff (Michael Fisher) and Philo Farnsworth (Chris Larson). As each man’s life is explained to the audience, we learn important historical facts about their discovery process as well as personal insights. Sarnoff is a stoic dick with classical tastes and standards. Philo Farnsworth is a happy-go-lucky genius with nervous tendencies. The cast’s ensemble play multiple characters, frequently in the same scene, who directly influence the grand discovery. This production is performed in the round, with minimal props and set pieces, and stark lighting.   Continue reading

Jan 16

The Truth Always Gets Out: MUCKRAKERS

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Presented as part of the Next Rep Black Box Festival
Written by Zayd Dohrn
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

January 10 – February 1
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Trigger warnings: sexual assault, nudity, sexual situations, adult language, suicide, depression, politics, implied violence

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Watertown, MA) This is the 30th season of New Repertory Theatre and the first show in the 2nd annual Next Rep Black Box Festival.  Despite all of the trigger warnings I would highly recommend Muckrakers for adults, particularly those folks interested in exploring the moral issues that are attached to the digital age regarding transparency versus privacy.  Here are the trigger warnings that New Rep provides:  nudity, sexual situations and adult language.  I add onto that these trigger warnings:  implied violence, suicide, depression and politics.  Also, I add on a big, honking trigger warning for people who have been sexually assaulted: you might experience some unpleasant flashbacks. Continue reading

Aug 29

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back: PYGMALION

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

Jun 17

The Future is the Present and It’s Dystopian: READER

Photo found on the Flat Earth Facebook page.

Photo found on the Flat Earth Facebook page.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Ariel Dorfman
Directed by Jake Scaltreto

June 13 – 21, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Trigger Warning: Some light cursing, conservative politics, implied torture

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) If dystopian science fiction is any indication, our future is bleak. In the future, rich people are very rich and the poor are very poor. The politicians are corrupted,  we have no global resources, and the ecosystem has gone to pot. The good news is that there is always an hero to save us… eventually. The future sounds a lot like the present.

Not unlike Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film Brazil, Dorfman’s Reader is a story within a story set in a future where all potentially unpleasant emotional elements of life have been stripped away. Violence and sexiness are routinely scrubbed from all media sources. The government occupies all spaces. There is no true freedom of expression. Daniel (the handsome Robin Gabrielli) is a suave yet dirty government censor who discovers that the most recent novel to cross his desk parallels his own life. In this novel, Daniel is Don Alfonso an unscrupulous censor working on film scripts. He is rightly paranoid and begins a short-lived journey towards redemption. Continue reading

May 12

You Carry What You Collect: ON THE VERGE

Photo snagged from New Rep website

Photo snagged from New Rep website

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
By Eric Overmyer
Directed by Jim Petosa

May 3 – 25, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) It is deeply refreshing to see women amidst the revels of their maturity being embraced by playwrights as the medium for their works. There aren’t enough chewy roles for women past the age of ingenue naivete that embrace life beyond mother or spinsterhood. As an actress and feminist critic, it was a pleasure to watch On the Verge. Playwright Eric Overmyer has given Boston and its actors a gift and it is my hope that the community embraces it.

On the Verge is about three intrepid female explorers in search of adventure in Terra Incognita. While collecting data, photos and samples, our heroines spelunk and hack their way to new territory in space and time. The characters are based on actual accounts of Victorian-era lady explorers who defied the conventions of the time. They sought independence in the wilds beyond Westernized civilization and found it. Continue reading