Dec 08

The Dude Does Not Abide: “Return of the Winemaker”


Presented by Tir Na Productions
Written by Bernard McMullan
Directed by Carmel O’Reilly

Dec. 2 – 20, 2015
Davis Square Theater
Somerville, MA
Tir Na Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Return of the Winemaker: An Irish Christmas Comedy  takes the piss out of two beloved institutions: Ireland and Christmas. It is not for the artistically insistent or the prudishly religious. In it, God sends his only begotten son to Ireland, of all places, to try again. Continue reading

Dec 04

Sharing the Joyful Word: BLACK NATIVITY


Banner image borrowed from

Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity Dec. 2, 2015
Presented by Emerson College and National Center of Afro-American Artists
Book by Langston Hughes
Music & Lyrics chosen by Langston Hughes
Based on text from the Gospel of St. Luke
Executive Producer and Director: Voncille Ross
Assistant to the Director for Music: Stephen Hunter, Sr.
Choral Director for Children: Marilyn Andry
Choral Director for Adults: Milton L. Wright
Ballet Mistress: Desiree Springer

Dec. 4 – 20, 2015
ASL interpreted performances: Dec. 4, 6, 12, 13, 19, & 20, 2015
The Paramount Theater
Boston, MA
Paramount Theater on Facebook
Black Nativity Boston on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Performances are open to the public beginning on Friday, Dec. 4. I was invited to a dress rehearsal. This review will be based on the wonderful performance the NCAAA so graciously allowed me to attend on Dec. 2, 2015.

(Boston, MA) Jesus was a Jewish man from Israel. Israel shares a border with Egypt which is in Africa. His birthplace, Bethlehem, is approximately six miles from Jerusalem. It takes about five hours to get to Be’er Sheva from Bethlehem if you catch the right bus (thank you Googlemaps). From there, you could get within the borders of Africa if you really wanted to but the journey would be pointlessly rough. I mention this to prove a point: given the physical location of Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem on a map, it is highly unlikely that Jesus was the blonde haired, blue eyed, white man that Christians enjoy depicting today. You’d have to travel on foot through Lebanon, then Syria and finally Turkey, or voyage across the Mediterranean Sea to Greece or Italy before hitting any majority of white people… And that’s in 7-2 BCE. Good luck finding an agent willing to sell you travel insurance. Continue reading

Nov 23

Festive and Fun: “A Civil War Christmas: an American Musical Celebration”

Photo image courtesy of the Facebook Page.

Photo image courtesy of the Facebook Page.

Presented by Wellesley College Theatre
Written by Paula Vogel
Music by Daryl Waters
Directed by Nora Hussey

November 18 – 22
Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre
Wellesly, MA
WCT on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

Christmas theatre is a very specific genre that requires a very particular mix to make effective (or even palatable).  The recipe starts with good old-fashioned holiday cheer; add a dash of nostalgia, a hint of history, a generous helping of family values, and (of course) finish with a generous sprinkling of festive music.  Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration has all the necessary ingredients for the Christmas genre, but actually performing it requires a special touch.  The piece’s simplistic dialogue which features such tropes as characters telling you who they are before they begin to speak (“In the West Wing of the White House, President Lincoln’s maid was cleaning the floor…. Hi, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show tonight?”) that have the danger to edge this play towards the realm of children’s theatre cheesiness, or satirical campiness. 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

Dec 27

The ImprovBoston Holiday Spectacular

IB spectacular

Photo credit: Scott Istvan; About half of the cast: they have a lot of joy to cram down your pie hole.

Presented by ImprovBoston
Improv director: John Serpico
Writers: Jamie Loftus, Dave Grinstead, Andy Hughes, Allen McRae, Ramy Abdelghani, Scott Kremer, Steve Sarro
Original score by Steve Sarro
The Cast: Ryan Burrill, Dave Grinstead, Ashley Voltz, Alex Tennant, Dennis Hurley, Shiyan Bee, Amanda Sousa, Andy Short,Matt Fear, Ian Dyer, Lydia Jane Graeff, Danny Balel

Nov. 28 – Dec. 27, 2014
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA
IB on Facebook
Holiday Spectacular on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Shock humor alluding to blood and feces, child abandonment, Regis Philbin

(Cambridge, MA) December is a magical time of year. It’s alive with childlike wonder, joy and deep-seated loathing for the holiday obligation to spend every waking moment with your family who all are either sick or getting over something in a tiny house and the promise of no social boundaries. Everyone needs an excuse to get out of the house to let off some steam, so why not head over to ImprovBoston to check out their Holiday Spectacular show this week to beat the desperation before it hits? While not exactly spectacular, it is very fun. Continue reading

Dec 19

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

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

December 17-22, 2013
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

Dec 10

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



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

Dec 02

Getting a Rise out of their Audience: THE SLUTCRACKER

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

Nov 20

Working out the Humbugs: A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Photo credit: Mark Turek

Presented by Trinity Repertory Company
By Adrian Hall and Richard Cumming
Adapted from the story by Charles Dickens
Directed by Tyler Dobrowsky
Musical Direction by Darren Server
Choreography by Shura Baryshnikov

November 9 – December 28,
201 Washington St.
Providence, RI
Trinity Repertory Company on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Providence) I know what you’re going to say: “what can anyone possibly have to say about Dickens’ classic Christmas tale that I haven’t heard five billion times before?”  Trinity Rep sees your concern and raises you veritable Holiday Magic onstage before your very eyes.  If you’re feeling a case of the humbugs, a trip to Providence is well worth your while to get into the spirit (and spirits) of the season. Continue reading

Jan 21

Good, Right, True: “Legend of Sleepy Hollow: An American Pantomime”

Imaginary Beasts 2013

Imaginary Beasts 2013; no horses were used in this production. They gave full consent.

presented by Imaginary Beasts: Winter Panto 2013
Part of the Emerging Theatre Company program

Conceived and written by Matthew Woods and the Ensemble

Directed by Matthew Woods
Choreography by Joey Pelletier and Kiki Samko

January 11 – February 2, 2013
Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Imaginary Beasts Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) The pantomime (panto) began its troubled youth as British entertainment based on the Elizabethan masque. It touched on classical subjects, included music and often borrowed from the Commedia dell’Arte style. These days, if one travels to jolly olde England during the Christmas and New Year’s season, one is confronted with vaudeville debauchery, bedazzled drag queens, slapstick and heaps of audience participation. It’s amazing that the US hasn’t already adopted the Panto and claimed it as our own invention. Enter Legend of Sleepy Hollow: An American Pantomime.

The form has been simplified and adapted for the small stage by Imaginary Beasts and contains the same wacky charm as its British cousin and more of the brash sassiness expected from the fringe theatre scene. We’re treated to country line dancing, Rocky references, and an extra hairy Fairy Godfather (Mikey DiLoreto) who speaks in rhyme and verse but not to a multimedia spectacular. The charm is in the ensemble’s work and it is served with campy flair. Continue reading