Jan 20

“Better Out Than In”: A DOLL’S HOUSE

Nael Nacer and Andrea Syglowski in “A Doll’s House;” Photo: T. Charles Erickson. Sh!t is about to get real.

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
Written by Henrik Ibsen
Adapted by Bryony Lavery
Directed by Melia Benussen

Jan. 6 – Feb. 5, 2017
Avenue of the Arts
BU Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“If your laws don’t include me, well then, they don’t apply to me either.”
Anita Crown, Bad Girls

(Boston, MA) A Doll’s House (AHD) is a classic tragedy of manners. It features a female protagonist, and has feminist themes. On paper, it’s a strong educational tool. Its presentation on the stage is another matter entirely. ADH is a show with chatty dialogue that wiggles around its points like a Mexican jumping bean. The Huntington’s modernized production with updated script drags from the emotional constipation of its characters. Not even Bryony Lavery could salvage this one.   Continue reading

Jan 11

Quality Beats Out Content in “Brilliant Adventures”

Michael Underhill as Rob, Sam Terry as Luke. Photo by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company & United Talent Agency
Written by Alistair McDowall
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

December 28, 2016-January 21, 2017
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St.
Chelsea, MA 02150
Apollinaire Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Chelsea, MA) Every theatre geek knows that good theatre should ask questions and initiate a conversation. It should do something as small as make the audience think of something from a different perspective or as large as make you question everything. These were the expectations I had when sitting down to watch Apollinaire Theatre Company’s production of Brilliant Adventures. Continue reading

Jan 11

“Mirror” Immerses Audience in Both Moving Show and Modern Complexities of Womanhood

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Frauenliebe und –leben
Music by Robert Schumann
Text by Adelbert von Chamisso

From the Diary of Virginia Woolf
Music by Dominick Argento
Text from the diaries of Virginia Woolf
Directed by Greg Smucker & Patricia-Maria Weinmann

January 6-8, 2017
Longy School of Music of Bard College
Cambridge, MA
Boston Collaborative Opera on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Two portraits of women, written over a century apart. The first is an idealized character looking to not only marry, but be subsumed by her husband’s identity in a happy, storybook life. In German, she sings of having no desire beyond being this man’s wife. She is the heroine of Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben (A Woman’s Love and Life) from 1830, itself based on a series of poems by Adelbert von Chamisso. Two men filter the story of a fictional woman, a touching if pastel view of a girl coming of age. Carley DeFranco breathes life into this creature (also played by Susannah Thornton, Rhaea D’Aliesio, and Julia Cavallaro, depending on one’s tour of the Zabriskie House mansion where the show is staged) with a Disney-esque sweetness. Continue reading

Jan 10

Wasted on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Photo credit: Lara Woolfson

Presented by Magnificent Bastard Productions
Based on the play by William Shakespeare

Reviewed on January 7, 2017
The Rockwell
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
Magnificent Bastard Productions on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Somerville, MA) There’s nothing quite as dazzling as experiencing theatre, the Shakespearean kind no less, under the hazy glow of stage lights as a soft buzz starts to settle in. While I chose not to partake in the highly encouraged consumption of alcohol, I figured my flu-like-symptoms-inducing hangover was enough of a qualifier to get me in the mood for Magnificent Bastard Productions Shit-faced Shakespeare performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And to top it off, the entire audience had the privilege of playing witness to the company’s first ever sex-swapped show. Continue reading

Jan 09

Son of a Biscuit: HAND TO GOD

It starts so innocently. It always does. Eliot Purcell and Josephine Elwood; Photo by Glenn Perry Photography

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Robert Askins
Directed by David R. Gammons
Puppetry direction by Roxanna Myhrum
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Jan. 6 – Feb. 4, 2017
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Devil references, supernatural activity, gore, violence, implied sex with a minor, graphic puppetry

(Boston, MA) Horror gets nastier when it employs kid’s toys. Personally speaking, dolls are the worst, but cinematic history has proved that puppets can be just as creepy. They can be really, super, frickin’ creepy. SpeakEasy’s Hand to God has a puppet. Like the previously referenced horror movies, it gets creepy and weird. Like, Evil Dead chainsaw hand meets Avenue Q levels of weird. It’s awesome.   Continue reading

Dec 07

Sanctioned Hate is Still Hate : Fiddler On the Roof

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures; The cast of Fiddler on the Roof.

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures; The cast of Fiddler on the Roof.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem
By special permission of Arnold Perl
Book by Joseph Stein
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Directed by Austin Pendleton
Music direction by Wade Russo
Choreographed by Kelli Edwards

Dec. 2, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2016
Charles Mosesian Theater
The Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Trigger warning: Patriarchy, arranged marriage, lack of personhood

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA

New Rep’s Fiddler On the Roof is an extraordinary production… With one not inconsiderable snag. Largely, the performances in this show are spectacular. This production doesn’t make up for New Rep’s lackluster musicals but it certainly resets the standard for its productions. The cast and crew have delivered to us something very special with this Fiddler. Continue reading

Dec 06

“The Tempest”: Heaven Hath no Mercy Like a Sorceress Scorned

Kai Tshikosi (Ferdinand), Marya Lowry (Prospero), Lydia Barnett-Mulligan (Miranda), and Samantha Richert (Ariel)

Kai Tshikosi (Ferdinand), Marya Lowry (Prospero), Lydia Barnett-Mulligan (Miranda), and Samantha Richert (Ariel); photo credit to Nile Scott Shots.

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Allyn Burrows

December 1, 2016-January 8, 2017
Willet Hall at United Parish
210 Harvard Avenue
Brookline, MA 02446
Actors’ Shakespeare Project on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Brookline, MA) One of the most exciting things about seeing any production of a Shakespeare show is how vast the possibilities are for interpretation. The fact that I was completely new to the world of The Tempest, which serves as Artistic Director Allyn Burrows’ final show with Actors’ Shakespeare Project, made seeing a production of it that much more thrilling. Continue reading

Nov 02

Shakespeare Wins, The End: SOMETHING ROTTEN!

SOMETHING ROTTEN!
Conceived by Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick
Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell
Music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw
Music directed  by Phil Reno

Now through January 1, 2017
St. James Theatre, a Jujiamcyn Theater
246 W. 44th Street
New York, NY
(Between 7th & 8th Avenues)
Something Rotten! On Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(New York, NYIt is a perk and a privilege to write complimentary reviews for people I know or used to know in a different life. There’s a certain joy in spinning a glowing critique for someone who deserves it. My joy is incalculably multiplied when done for a personal acquaintance. It’s best if it’s a surprise. It’s even better if it’s a special occasion. Continue reading

Feb 16

It’s A Privilege To Be So Offended: AN OCTOROON

(photo cred: Jeremy Fraga)

(photo cred: Jeremy Fraga)

Presented by Company One and ArtsEmerson
Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Summer L. Williams

Jan. 29 – Feb. 27, 2016
Emerson/Jackie Liebergott Black Box
559 Washington St; Boston MA, 02111
Company One on Facebook
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAI know enough about civil and political rights to know that I don’t know nearly enough to speak with authority; I know enough to know that white people need to shut up and show up in support of the voices of people of color (POCs). That white people have done more than enough talking on behalf of the peoples we oppress. My suggestion is to attend An Octoroon and stay for the talk back. Use your money to express your belief that everyone deserves equal rights and equal representation. Use your attendance as an opportunity to start a respectful conversation about the US’s race problem. Let POCs know that their fight doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  Continue reading

Feb 09

With The Stars Thrown In: MARY POPPINS

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Based on the stories by PL Travers and the Walt Disney film
Music and lyrics by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman
Book by Julian Fellows
New songs and additional music by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe
Co-created by Cameron Mackintosh
Directed/choreographed by Russell Garrett
Music directed by Robert L Rucinski

January 29 – February 28, 2016
American Sign Language and Audio-description are offered on Friday February 26 at 7:30 and Sunday February 28 at 3:00.
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The adaptation of a beloved movie into a musical theatre production can be a sticky business. On the one hand, it is necessary to tread carefully in order to honor the childhood memories (or other) of an audience. On the other, there’s a story to tell. Something usually gets lost in translation. In the instance of Mary Poppins at Wheelock Family Theatre, it’s the story that suffers. Worry not! The performances still enthrall. Continue reading