Jan 24

Beasts drop many tales into a well and frog them out: KERPLOP!

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Presented by imaginary beasts
Written and Directed by Matthew Woods

January 17-February 7, 2015
BCA Plaza Black Box Black Box Theatre
Boston, MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA)  imaginary beasts have produced a pleasant reminder of spring.  A silly and colorful confection, Kerplop!  is anchored by the ensemble’s commitment to the lighter side of theatre in a convoluted story based somewhat on The Frog Prince as well as other, possibly lesser known tales. Continue reading

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Jan 20

A Resounding Meh: A FUTURE PERFECT

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Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. Beers were harmed in the making of this play.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Written by Ken Urban
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Jan. 9 – Feb. 7, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Inside every adult there is an 18 year old wondering what the Hell just happened. It feels like just yesterday you were a shy teenager prepping for college. You blink and there you are, 38 and wondering how you got into this mess. It’s a surprise to discover that we’re the adults now, the guys in charge. We’re the very people we protested against in our teens and 20’s and now we have to pretend it’s OK. While the initial money/freedom is nice, the rest feels like strange and unusual punishment for our childhood sins. Adulthood blows. Continue reading

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Jan 16

The Truth Always Gets Out: MUCKRAKERS

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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

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Jan 12

Happily Ever After A Few Slip Ups: “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

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Photo: Jim Cox Martin; Martin Moran, Candy Buckley, Marcia DeBonis, and Tyler Lansing Weaks

Photo: Jim Cox Martin; Martin Moran, Candy Buckley, Marcia DeBonis, and Tyler Lansing Weaks

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Christopher Durang
Directed by Jessica Stone
Based on the Broadway direction of Nicholas Martin

Jan. 2 – Feb. 1, 2015
BU Theatre
Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
– Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Boston has seen a lot of brilliantly performed Chekhov and Chekhov-adjacent theatre in the past two years. His dramatic writing style is sadistic and depressive,  yet he inspires new generations anyway. The Russian tragedian also wrote comedy. He wrote several handfuls of short, comedic plays and an anthology worth of short stories.

There’s a tie in between the Huntington’s 2014 production of The Seagull and the 2015 production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (VSMS). Durang’s “corny but sincere” play touches the soul similarly as The Seagull but does so with a vastly different effect; It warms the heart rather than chill the bones. It’s an entirely different beast using the same moving parts and ingredients. Continue reading

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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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