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

Jan 16

At War With Each Other: DISGRACED

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Co.
Written Ayad Akhtar
Directed by Gordon Edelstein

Jan. 8 – Feb. 7, 2016
BU Theatre
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Disgraced tackles the complicated conundrum of existential humanity. One of the most trying aspects of existing is reconciling our darkest impulses against pointless altruism. For an example unrelated to the show, one can rashly wish the perpetrators of a horrendous crime to wither slowly in the blazing fires of Hell while still feeling compassion for the perp’s family. Meanwhile, expressing neither of these thoughts out loud. Simply wishing to be lawfully good does not eradicate one’s potential for committing chaotic evil acts. If so, the behavioral teachings of religion, say, would be unnecessary. Humans are complicated beasties. Continue reading

Mar 03

There Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Dame: THE MOUSETRAP

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Presented by Theatre@First
Written by Dame Agatha Christie
Directed by Michael Haddad

Feb. 27 – March 7, 2015
Unity Church
6 William Street
Somerville, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I have worked with Theatre@First as an actor and as a crew volunteer. It is my firm belief that only a narcissistic ass would allow something like that to color their review.

(Somerville, MA) If you can’t keep a secret, chances are that you’d make a terrible murderer but a great victim. Seymour R. Goff’s famous advert for Seagram Distillers Corporation cautioned that “loose lips might sink ships.” It was in use by 1942 by the US Office of War Information. Across the pond, British allies were told to “keep mum” lest their thoughtless chatter accidentally leak information to Nazi sympathisers. The wartime influenced Mousetrap (1952), was rewritten as a radio play called Three Blind Mice (1947) after originally being written as a short story, argues quite strongly for keeping personal, potentially damning information quiet. It makes a very strong case for background checks. As for the guests staying at Monkswell Manor, they likely would have survived unscathed had they checked references and kept their noses clean. Continue reading

Feb 26

Icy Distance in Apollinaire Theatre Company’s GREENLAND

Photo credit: Apollinaire Theatre Company

Photo credit: Apollinaire Theatre Company

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Co.
By Nicholas Billon
Directed by Meg Taintor

Feb. 20 – March 15, 2015
189 Winnisimmet Street
Chelsea, MA 02150
Apollinaire on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Chelsea, MA) One of the more terrifying aspects of climate change is its irreversibleness.  Once the environment has altered, it’s impossible to get the world back to where it was.  In Nicolas Billon’s 60-minute Greenland, we don’t only contemplate the fragility of the planet but the family unit.  The irreversible change that befalls Tanya (Charlotte Kinder), her uncle Jonathan (Dale J. Young), and her aunt Judith (Christine Power) is smaller than global warming but, in the show, just as brutal. Continue reading

Feb 24

The Intimacy of Lingerie: INTIMATE APPAREL

Photo by Glenn Perry.

Photo by Glenn Perry.

Presented by Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Written by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Summer L. Williams
Music directed/compositions by Allyssa Jones

Feb. 13 – March 14, 2015
140 Clarendon St
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Intimate Apparel is a complicated show that discusses history, race, class, education, and gender in approximately two hours. It is summarized as being a play about a seamstress who crafts fancy underpants. She plans to open a beauty parlor but marries a man she’d only met through letters. It is so much more. Nottage gives a face to the women that history so frequently forgets: the sex workers, the day laborers, the socialites. The history books are filled to capacity with men who’ve changed history. Continue reading

Feb 24

Because He Could: ALBATROSS

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Presented by the Poets’ Theatre in collaboration with Ocean Conservancy
Directed by Rick Lombardo
Written by Matthew Spangler & Benjamin Evett
Based on “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The poem can be read here.

Feb. 13 – March 1, 2015
The Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre
Emerson/Paramount Center
Boston, MA 02111
Poets’ Theatre on Facebook
Ocean Conservancy on Facebook

Trigger Warnings: graphic violence, harsh language

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Disney’s Captain Jack Sparrow is a poster boy for pirates. He’s grimy, clever thief with a heart of tarnished gold. Jack likely smells rank but has an unmistakable charisma that drives audiences  wild. Some want to be him; some want to f^ck him, etc. It’s no wonder that this franchise made so much money.

Sparrow is a lie. He is the Hollywood equivalent of a romantic adventure on the high seas with creatures great and majestic during a time that never was. Pirates are not charming; they are brutal criminals capable of unthinkable acts. Historically, pirates sailing the Atlantic sacked and ravaged rival merchant ships. Cruelty was de rigueur. Continue reading

Feb 23

Crying Uncle: UNCLE JACK

10929149_10152928903511072_1633828632893124184_nPresented by Boston Center for American Performance and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Written and Directed by Michael Hammond
Adapted from the play by Anton Chekhov

February 12 – March 1, 2015
BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio
264 Huntington Avenue, Boston
Boston Playwright’s Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) You know, I’ve never noticed it before, but there really is something innately Chekhovian about major summer-stock theatres (particularly in the New England Area). Out in the wilds of Western Massachusetts, a seasonal culture abounds. Large, stately mansions (mostly empty during the rest of the year) stand ready to receive their visitors; high-status patrons, family dear and estranged, and random acquaintances who have long been treated as family. The constant financial difficulties that running these estates entails weave through life upon them like a second soul. The back-to-nature feel of the Berkshires where city-slicker actors arrive to work, to fall in love, and to torment the people who call this big empty place “home” the rest of the year could very well be a cherry orchard or a provincial Russian estate. The incestuous, teeming nature of a long-standing summer-stock company almost reeks of Chekhov; the half-forgotten love affairs, the misbehavior that will never be spoken of again, and the half-cocked gun on the mantelpiece just waiting for its Act Four moment…. Continue reading

Feb 20

Ignore what your Momma Told you: TALK TO STRANGERS

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Presented by Liars and Believers
In collaboration with the Boston Circus Guild
Directed by Jason Slavick
Music Direction by Chuck Lechien

One Night Only: February 19, 2015
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
Liars and Believers on Facebook
Boston Circus Guild on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) Liars and Believers are well-versed in the art of collage. Bringing together dance, clowning techniques, poetry, music, mask-work, circus performance, and whatever you could call the live-improv style randomness that happens at Club Oberon, they have presented a beautiful ode to the pain of anonymity brought about by the modern technological era in their piece Talk to Strangers. Transient and fleeting, I could no more pin this piece down with words than replicate it. Continue reading

Feb 11

Totally Rad To The Max: Bogart and Lement’s “PINOCCHIO”

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Photo by by Kippy Goldfarb.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Adapted by Steven Bogart and Wendy Lement
Based on the book The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Directed by Steven Bogart
Music directed/composed by Mary Bichner
Choreographed by Patricia Manalo Bochnak
Dramaturg: Kate Snodgrass
Sign Performers: Jola Leary, Adrianna Kathryn Neefus, Desiree Weems Sheppard

Jan. 30 – Feb. 22, 2015
ASL/Audio description: Feb 12,20,22
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Many years ago, when I was a burgeoning opera singer, I attempted to read Collodi’s Pinocchio in the original Italian to learn the language. Pinocchio, originating as a series of short stories in an Italian magazine, is a convoluted tale of dramatic proportions about a little wooden puppet-boy who gets into scrapes only to be saved by those who inexplicably love him. Pinocchio has no social skills, no respect, and no discipline. Yet,his father Geppetto and the Blue Fairy are devoted anyway. I read about ¾ of the book on my journey towards bilingualism. Considering my penchant for justice and the frequency in which Pinocchio is rewarded for his bad behavior, I’m surprised I slogged through as much as I did. Continue reading

Feb 06

“The Second Girl” Keeps to Familiar Territory

Photo credit: Hunting Theatre Co

Photo credit: Hunting Theatre Co

Presented by Huntington Theatre Co.
Written by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Ronan Noone
Directed by Campbell Scott

Jan. 16 – Feb. 21, 2015
South End / Calderwood
Pavilion at the BCA
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

The class war still rages on.  People from countries with fewer opportunities than ours wash up on the shores of America willing to work sixteen-hour days at thankless jobs.  In “The Second Girl,” the audience is transported to the influx of Irish immigration in the earlier twentieth century.  Specifically, we watch a full day in the life of Bridget O’Sullivan (Kathleen McElfresh) and aspiring actress Cathleen O’Leary (MacKenzie Meehan) in August 1912.  Both work as maids for the summer home of wealthy employers.  The carping and melodrama of our heroines’ everyday world is mined for a play that seems a little too grounded in the immigration stories that came before. Continue reading