Aug 16

Hot as Hell in Philadelphia” “1776”

Photo credit: Eurah Joanna Ko

Photo credit: Eurah Joanna Ko

Presented by The MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone
Directed by Emma Brown
Vocal Direction by Tom Ostrowski and Johnnie Han
Orchestra Directed by Julie Henion

August 12 – 14
MIT Kresge Little Theatre
48 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA
MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA1776 is one of those archaic mainstays of musical theatre that gets some seasonal adoration around the patriotic holidays of summer and spends the rest of the year hiding in its box waiting for people to remember how catchy the good songs are (and forget how atrociously lingering the bad ones get).  It’s also got some technical and social difficulties: the cast is large; dare I say ungainly; and made almost exclusively of men.  Costuming the show is serious business since it’s a period piece (rarely modernized).  And the script… oh the script… the script has not aged well.  Sherman Edwards wrote some poppy songs that still captivate, but Peter Stone’s book is definitely a product of its time.  Once again; the good parts are great.  The bad parts just linger a little too long.  Last, but certainly not least, the show attempts to tackle some very dark eras of American History and doesn’t exactly do it in the best possible way. Continue reading

Aug 08

Not A Leftover: DOG PADDLE (Or, Struggling Inelegantly Against Drowning)

Photo by Andrew Brilliant

Photo by Andrew Brilliant, from Facebook.

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater
By Retro Finger
Translated by Lily Sykes
Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon

August 4-20, 2016
Studio Theater at Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MADog Paddle (Or, Struggling Inelegantly Against Drowing) is a brisk 55 minutes long. It is brief, packs a wallop, and, to be blunt, is just short enough that one can still run errands or what have you before the day’s exhaustion catches up. Dog Paddle is an opportunity to enjoy cranial, abstract theatre without wearing one out for the rest of life. It’s perfect. Continue reading

Jun 28

Spider Cult’s Tangled Webs of B-Movie Burlesque Pastiche

The Sweethearts via their website www.theslaughterhousesweethearts.com/

The Sweethearts, photo via their website www.theslaughterhousesweethearts.com/

Presented by Jade Sylvan and Fem Bones
Starring the Slaughterhouse Sweethearts
Created by Jade Sylvan (playwright & producer) Fem Bones (creator, director, & choreographer), Catherine Capozzi (composer, guitarist, & band leader)

June 24 at 6:30PM, 10PM
June 26 at 5PM, 8:30PM
The Oberon
Cambridge, MA
Spider Cult: The Musical Facebook Page
Spider Cult: The Musical Soundtrack

By Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Spider Cult: The Musical is deep fried pulp, beer-battered in burlesque and costume blood. This is a certain kind of creepy, specifically a Boston kind, certainly my kind. The choreographed fight scenes and blood shed are as enthusiastic as the stripping. While the plot didn’t need to be anything other than be a skeleton on which one could hang a few themed, stylish burlesque routines, Jade Sylvan and Fem Bones gives us violence, pathos, and insight into human relationships—a many-legged beast of a story. Continue reading

Jun 19

“Twelfth Night” and “What You Will”: A Play Two Ways

A.R. Sinclair Photography

A.R. Sinclair Photography

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company & Bedlam
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Eric Tucker

Twelfth Night: June 9-July 10, 2016
What You Will: June10-July 9, 2016
Central Square Theatre
Cambridge, MA
Bedlam on Facebook
Central Square Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) During my senior year of high school, being the drama club geek that I was, I took a Shakespeare class. The professor was insane, but amazing, and the biggest takeaway I got from the class was that Shakespeare really wanted to give the players in a show the right to manipulate and interpret his text as much as possible. Therefore, it seems quite fitting that Bedlam decided to split Twelfth Night, or What You Will into two separate productions of the same exact show using the same five actors to tell the same story with different narratives and tones. Continue reading

May 31

La Donna è divertente!

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Looking fierce.

La Donna Improvvisata
Presented by ImprovBoston
Starring, improvised by Lisa Flanagan
Musical accompaniment by Mike Descouteaux

May 29, 2016 @11pm
Improv Boston
Cambridge, MA
La Donna on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge, MAMusical improv is a special permutation of improvisational comedy.   I think it appeals to people who both love comedy and have a lot of experience in listening to different genres of music.  I’ve certainly been subjected to short form musical improv in which the creation of mostly unrelated individual song-scenes  felt much longer than the allotted two minutes.  Stringing short song-scenes together into a long form musical improv set can be challenging even for mid-sized groups to tackle.  Musical abilities and frequently a pianist are required.  One supporting piece that can be useful is the addition of a premise.  In “La Donna Improvvisata,” Lisa Flanagan did a unique send-up of opera tropes entirely with the help of one accompanist on keyboard. Continue reading

May 20

On Behalf of Women’s Bodies: IN THE BODY OF THE WORLD

Photo Evgenia Eliseeva.

Photo Evgenia Eliseeva. Ensler transcends. 

Presented by the American Repertory Theater
Written and performed by Eve Ensler
Directed by Diane Paulus

May 10 – 29, 2016
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: nudity not for the purpose of female objectification, implied drug use, graphic depictions of violence and cruelty, raw feminism

(Cambridge, MA) Our iPads, tablets, game consoles, phones and anything else that requires processed natural minerals and metals are the by-products of systematic rape. This is an oversimplified statement but it is true. The ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and complications within the mineral supply chain means that conflict minerals end up in everyday items. The computer I’m using to write this review likely has conflict minerals in it. The device you’re using to read this review likely has conflict minerals in it. By not pushing for a transparent mineral supply chain, we are aiding the conflict in the Congo. By not taking an active stance, we are telling the companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc. that we approve of their trade dealings with companies that don’t require transparency. As ignorant consumers, we are part of them problem.   Continue reading

Apr 20

Two Reviewers, One Play: ARCADIA

The Cast of ARCADIA. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography

The Cast of ARCADIA. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography

Presented by Central Square Theater & and the Nora Theatre Company
Written by Tom Stoppard
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner

Current-May 15, 2016
Central Square Theater
Central Square, Cambridge, MA
Central Square/Nora Theatre on Facebook

Noe and I attended this performance together. We were impacted differently so we both wrote reviews. One follows after the other below.  Continue reading

Mar 22

“MBTA Musical”: For the T-Hating Bostonian in All of Us

Photo from the 2012 production at Oberon.

Photo from the 2012 production at Oberon.

Presented by ImprovBoston
Music and Lyrics by Melissa Carubia
Directed by John Michael Manship
Musical Direction by Shannon Jacob

February 26-May 20, 2016
Cambridge, MA
ImprovBoston on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) When I found out that the MBTA was going to cut Friday and Saturday extended hours, I wept for at least 5.5 seconds. My displeasure quickly morphed into absolute fury with the board members for making such a rash decision that effects hundreds of workers, students, and other Bostonians. I was revved up to come see the performance of ImprovBoston’s T-shaming show, T: An MBTA Musical and it was the perfect slap-in-the-face comeback to Boston’s poor excuse for public transit that I could’ve received. Continue reading

Feb 24

Nice Legs Fellas: THAT 1770’s SHOW

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Image care of Google

Presented by The Hasty Pudding Club
Written by Daniel S. Milaschewski,, Jacob D. Rienstra, and A.J. Unitas
Music composed by Dylan MarcAurele

Feb. 6 – March 6, 2016
Farkas Hall
12 Holyoke Street
Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) HPT168: That 1770’s Show is like a Ru Paul’s Drag Race production of “A Day in the Life on Plimouth Plantation” if the budget were slashed and the performers given a strict diet of cafeteria food. It’s good ole’ drag satire in which Massachusetts institutions are the butt of the jokes. It’s hilarious if that’s your thing. If it’s not: the show’s still funny but you won’t enjoy yourself as much as everyone else. Continue reading

Jan 26

As Exciting as Actual Ice Fishing: “Nice Fish”

Presented by the American Repertory Theatre
Written by Mark Rylance & Louis Jenkins
Drawn from the works of Louis Jenkins
Direction and compositions by Claire van Kampen

January 17 – February 7, 2016
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MANice Fish pairs the poetry of Louis Jenkins and self-aware post post-modern theatre on the frozen waters of a Minnesota lake. It is a small, white cast with one woman (Kayli Carter taking one for the team) about the humdrum comings and goings of ice fishers and their community. We are invited to experience the quiet contemplations of Erik (Jim Lichtscheidl) and Ron (Mark Rylance) on their technology-assisted jaunt into the wilderness. It’s a story of Man versus Nature versus Man’s Nature. In the end, the winner is always Nature.   Continue reading