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

Feb 03

Disparate Pieces: THE WHIPPING MAN

Care of the New Rep Facebook page.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
by Matthew Lopez
Directed by Benny Sato Ambush

January 25th – February 16th, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) Sometimes you can check off all the boxes for what makes an interesting play without the play adding up to great theatre.  The Whipping Man, playing at the New Repertory Theatre, has all the ingredients (interesting slice of history, family drama, a striking set, a strong cast), but they don’t create something bigger. Continue reading

Dec 02

Charm Conquers All: CAMELOT

Photo credit: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Photo credit: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Books and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Lowe
Original production directed and staged by Moss Heart
Based on “The Once and Future King” by TH White
Directed and choreographed by Russell Garrett
Musical direction by David McGrory
Dance Captain – Maurice Emmanuel Parent
Fight Captain – Michael J Borges

Nov. 23 – Dec. 22, 2013
Charles Mosesian Theater
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

(Watertown) The Director’s Notes by Russell Garrett are excellent. An audience member desiring nostalgic information correlating Camelot to the anniversary of JFK’s assassination will be well pleased. For this purpose, I will not dwell on the JFK’s Camelot as Mr. Garrett has already done an excellent job of doing so in the programme. If you’d like to know more, see the show.

Considering the weight that the Kennedy Family carries in the US, one might expect Camelot to be a more serious show. Lerner and Lowe’s fluffy hit does examine some heavy issues but the majority of the script and lyrics are intended to entertain rather than educate. The sugary sweet production by New Rep does not fail in its mission to cheer Baby Boomers and to indoctrinate younger generations in classic musical theatre. Continue reading

Nov 25

Nothing is but What Is Not: “Macbeth”

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