Mar 24

Quit Playing Around: “Magic: The Gathering: the Improv Show”

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Magic: The Gathering: The (Improv) Show

Header borrowed from ImprovBoston website.

Presented by Improv Boston

Fridays February 28th – April 10th
ImprovBoston
Cambridge, MA
Magic: The Gathering: the Show on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

Edited to reflect an extension of the review that was not originally posted (but should have been). We blame Microsoft 2010. That jerk.

(Cambridge) Alright, I know you’ve got them; you know you’ve got them; it’s time to come clean.  Let’s face it: you’re not the only one who spent part of their awkward teenaged years hurling spells at your friends in knock-down drag-out duels on table-tops in cafeterias during free periods.  If Magic: The Gathering offers any hint of nostalgia for you (or even the slightest amount of shame; after all, some things are healthy to feel ashamed about), you should consider rolling by ImprovBoston some Friday night to catch Magic: The Gathering: The improv Show. Continue reading

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Mar 03

Upbeat in the midst of despair: “The Joshua Show”

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Presented by Puppet Showplace Theatre
Written and Starring Joshua Holden

February 28-March 1, 2014
Brookline, MA
Puppet Showplace on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Brookline) Puppet Showplace Theatre mostly runs shows geared towards young children, with lessons and surprises aplenty for the tiny set.  Puppets@Nite brought a special two night only show to the space with the sprightly, multi-talented and effervescent Joshua Holden.  Continue reading

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Mar 03

Character-Building: EQUALLY DIVIDED

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Photo by Meghan Moore. Pictured: Jill Tanner, Felicity La Fortune, Will Lyman and Anthony Newfield.

Photo by Meghan Moore. Pictured: Jill Tanner, Felicity La Fortune, Will Lyman and Anthony Newfield.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
by Ronald Harwood
Directed by Charles Towers

February 13th – March 9th, 2014
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) Professional baseball player Ichiro Suzuki once got into hot water for saying that when his team is losing year after year he focuses instead on playing for his own individual accomplishments.  To some, it showed selfishness, but to me it showed professionalism. Continue reading

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Mar 03

Do the Research Before Enjoying: MAN IN A CASE

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Presented by ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage
Adapted from Two Stories by Anton Chekhov
Adapted and Directed by Annie-B Parson & Paul Lazar/Big Dance Theater
Choreographed by Annie-B Parson
Featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Tymberly Canale, Chris Giarmo, Paul Lazar and Aaron Mattocks

February 25 – March 2, 2014
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Baryshnikov Productions on Facebook
Big Dance Theater on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

My apologies to ArtsEmerson, Big Dance Theatre, Baryshnikov Productions and anyone else I forgot to mention for the tardiness of this review. I was waylaid by illness this weekend and couldn’t complete my review.

(Boston) Man in a Case is effective theatre that turns Chekhov on its head while retelling the two classic stories “Man in a Case” and “Almost Love.” It does not bridge the 19th and the 21st centuries as advertised. It does, however, transport the viewer into an existential dreamspace/nightmare of meta and experimental theatre. Just in case one is mislead by my description, this was an interesting, thought-provoking performance but it’s not light fare for a family hoping to experience “culture” in the city. Man in a Case could be considered “weird” and weird theatre can be exquisite. It all depends on perspective. Continue reading

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Feb 27

Sins of the Father: DEATH OF A SALESMAN

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Photo by Mark S. Howard.

Photo by Mark S. Howard.

Presented by Lyric Stage Co of Boston (40 Years)
By Arthur Miller
Directed by Spiro Veloudos

February 14 to March 15, 2014
Boston, MA
Lyric Stage on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

From the program notes: Robert N. Wilson, The Writer as Social Seer

“Willy’s failure is our failure, for we are also involved in the cult of success, and we, too, measure men by occupational attainment rather than by some sympathetic calculus of the whole human being. We are all partners in the American Dream and parties to the conspiracy of silence surrounding the fact that failures must by definition outnumber successes, given our cultural ground rules and or singular interpretations of the words ‘success’ and ‘failure’.”

(Boston) There is so much that The Lyric’s production of Death of a Salesman gets right. This is a fantastic production – the best of theirs I’ve seen all season, which is saying a lot for a theatre that regularly that creates solid art. It is the same cut and dried script that generations have come to love with a few spins that make it new and poignant.   Continue reading

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Feb 25

“Baby with the Bathwater”: Dysfunctional Family and Oddly Cheerful Dark Comedy

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DSC_0233 (2)

Photo credit: Happy Medium Theatre Co

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Co.
By Christopher Durang
Directed by Lizette M. Morris

February 14-22nd, 2014
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 8 pm, Saturdays 4 pm, Sundays 3 pm
The Factory Theater
791 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02118
Happy Medium on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Happy Medium Theatre’s Baby with the Bathwater is searing, cruel, and weirdly loving.  A lopsided family portrait, the play is a satire on abusive upbringings dramatized for entertainment.   The show appears to take place in a warped alternate universe where new parents John (Jeremy Towle) and Helen (Denise Drago) are too dimwitted to understand one holds a baby when it cries or that children aren’t allowed Nyquil. Their misnamed son, Daisy (Mike Budwey), endures a home life so skewed but with parents so achingly human, it becomes chillingly akin to real dysfunction. Continue reading

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Feb 24

Voluptuous Bluesy, Folksy Glam Rock: Asaf Avidan

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Presented by World Music/CRASHarts
A concert by Asaf Avidan

Attended performance was on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014
Somerville Theatre
Davis Square
Somerville, MA
World Music/ CRASHarts on Facebook
Asaf Avidan on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Somerville) Asaf Avidan is compared to Janis Joplin and Billie Holiday. The timbre of his voice has similarities to that of the Joplin rasp and the warmth of Holiday, Avidan’s voice is vulnerable and striking in a way uniquely his own. Joplin and Holiday were distant from their audiences whereas it appeared that Avidan sang as if he wished to become one with us through his music. Continue reading

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Feb 20

I’m of Two Minds (Both Alike in Dignity): “Romeo Juliet”

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Photo borrowed from Club Oberon “Romeo Juliet” event site.

Presented by The Hypocrites
Directed and Adapted by Sean Graney
Adapted from the play by William Shakespeare

February 19 – 22, 2014
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
The Hypocrites on Facebook

Whew!  Thanks for sticking with me, readers! Welcome to the Epic Conclusion of Dani’s Grand Bardopalooza Adventure: 2K14.  Over three days, I have attended and reviewed three different American Shakespeare remixes.  Tonight’s grand finale: Romeo Juliet presented by The Hypocrites at Club Oberon.

(Cambridge) Let’s start here: this is probably best titled a “remix” of Shakespeare’s play rather than a straight-up performance or adaptation.  Sean Graney took the original text, cut it, cropped it, zoomed in on some things, and re-arranged everything else to befit the story he wanted to tell.  And, as I said in my review of 12 Nights, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that treatment.  As an audience member, you should just be aware that you’re not going to be seeing Shakespeare on this stage; you’re going to be seeing work inspired by a timeless story.  As such, I think familiarity with the source text is a must.  I definitely saw plenty of kids in the audience, but I wasn’t certain that this was the best vehicle for introducing our well-known story to them. The story itself, in this form, felt rushed and improbable; like Graney was trying to slot too many elements into his slim sixty-minute time window.  There were moments that even I barely followed (and that’s saying something). Continue reading

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Feb 18

Bobby is an Immature Dick: COMPANY

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61495_549787648449858_87023996_n Presented by Moonbox Productions
Music & lyrics By Stephen Sondheim
Book by George Furth
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Directed by Allison Olivia Choat
Music directed by Dan Rodriguez
Super fun choreography by Rachel Bertone

February 7 – March 1, 2014
Nancy and Edward Roberts Studio Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street, Boston’s South End
Moonbox on Facebook

Every ticket benefits: Music for Food

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) They say that Stephen Sondheim is one of those composers that people either love or hate. I disagree. There is so much in his catalogue that there could easily be something for everyone. Company, like Sondheim himself, is one of those shows that people have decided others love or hate. Again, I disagree. There are many moments in Company that are golden. Some are not. Depending how much one enjoys Sondheim (or not) opinion fluctuates greatly. This production by Moonbox has several golden moments that I feel reflect the truths Sondheim sharing in his musical. Other moments are not so effective. Continue reading

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Feb 17

Extraordinary But Not Unlikely: “Red-Eye to Havre de Grace”

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Presented by ArtsEmerson
By Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental
Designed and Directed by Thaddeus Phillips
Choreography by Sophie Bortolussi
Music by Wilhelm Bros. & Co.
Created by Thaddeus Phillips, Jeremy Wilhelm, Geoff Sobelle, David Wilhelm, with Sophie Bortolussi

Running Time: 100 minutes with no intermission
February 14 – 16, 2014
Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

From the Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental Website:
“On September 27, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe set out on a lecture tour from Virginia to New York. Days later a train conductor saw Poe in Havre de Grace, Maryland, wearing a stranger’s clothing and heading south to Baltimore where he died on October 7.”

(Boston) Boston is the birthplace of E.A. Poe. He was born on Boylston St. not far from the Paramount Center Mainstage theater. The building is commemorated by a small plaque. It’s fitting then that Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental brought Red-Eye to Havre de Grace, a macabre but unique perspective into the abstraction of the writer’s brain, to Poe’s home. Continue reading

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