Mar 03

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

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mousetrap_logo

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
T@F on Facebook

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

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Feb 26

Icy Distance in Apollinaire Theatre Company’s GREENLAND

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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

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Feb 24

The Intimacy of Lingerie: INTIMATE APPAREL

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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
Lyric Stage on Facebook

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

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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

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Feb 23

Crying Uncle: UNCLE JACK

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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

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Feb 20

Ignore what your Momma Told you: TALK TO STRANGERS

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LAB-tts-fbcover

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

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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

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Feb 06

“The Second Girl” Keeps to Familiar Territory

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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

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Feb 02

Almost Like Family: THE BEST BROTHERS

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Photo by Meghan Moore.

Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Daniel MacIvor
Directed by Charles Towers

January 8 – February 1st, 2015
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) Every time a member of one’s family dies, the remaining members of the family must re-form to create a unit, or split away and cease to be. This is an especially arduous task for two almost estranged brothers in The Best Brothers. They must resolve what they were to each other when the matriarch of the family was alive, and what they are to each other now that she is gone. Continue reading

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Feb 02

Where the Shadows Run from Themselves*: ECHOES

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echoesPresented by Brown Box Theatre Co.
Written by N. Richard Nash
Directed by Kyler Taustin
Brown Box on Facebook

January 30-February 1 & February 5-8
Atlantic Wharf @ 7:30
290 Congress Street, Boston, MA

February 13-16
Ocean City Center for the Arts @ 7:30
502 94th Street, Ocean City, MD

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warning: Panic Attacks, emotional violence, minor physically violent episodes – While the majority of the events are non-violent, actions depicted on stage may also trigger PTSD.

(Boston, MA) I must caution that extra-sensitive individuals or individuals with a negative associations with in-patient mental health facilities carefully consider attending Echoes. I mention this because the acting is very good, very realistic and, for this reason, potentially triggering. The play by N. Richard Nash focuses on the how the brain copes with trauma when faced with an unsafe reality. It is also about taking the first impossibly difficult steps from that reality towards treatment. This is difficult enough in real life. This production may impede the good work one has done outside of the theatre. Not attending this production falls under the category of  “self-care to stay safe and stable.” Everyone else and their Mom’s uncle’s sister should attend. Continue reading

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