May 24

Cirque du Soleil’s “Kurios”: Raising the Tent

Photo by Gillian Daniels

Photo by Gillian Daniels

Exposé by Gillian Daniels

(East Boston, MA) The day I watch the tent raised in Boston, the sky is blue and cloudless. The tent itself is partially up but looks like a deflated balloon. Men and women in hard hats stand around the interior circumference, speaking French Canadian-accented and Boston-tinged English.

Any circus needs a main tent, and Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities is no exception. This is Cirque du Soleil before it puts on its sequins and tights.

But they’re ready. At each section of the tent, there is a rush forward as the workmen push the poles up. Only afterward do they go around and lock them into place. This is the core before everything else is added, before even the stage and safety net are set up.

Photo by Gillian Daniels

Photo by Gillian Daniels

Kurios is described to us as a show about nineteenth century innovation meant to mirror contemporary s technology. It pivots on the imagery of childhood and travel: bicycles, over-the-top mad science, hot air balloons, trains, and, I’m assured, a large chair meant to evoke a break from reality.

The last shows to come to Boston from Cirque du Soleil, Amaluna and Totem, are tied much more closely to the natural world. Here, posters around town prominently feature gears and an acrobat with accordion-like legs. Its name, derived from “curios,” already focuses on displaced objects. There’s a kinetic, steampunk feel.

I’m told it’s longer to set up the tent than take it down. Setting up means ideal weather and racing the sun. There are sixty-five trailers of things to unpack, but the tent is just one piece. Take it out and you need a team to lift it skyward. After, you fold it up and you’re done.

KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is playing
May 26th (premier) – July 10th, 2016
Suffolk Downs
525 McClellan Highway
East Boston, MA 02128
Tickets are available at www.cirquedusoleil.com/kurios

Photo by Gillian Daniels

Photo by Gillian Daniels

Aug 04

Balance Amidst the Loneliness: ORDINARY DAYS

Photo credit: The Opposite of People

Photo credit: The Opposite of People

Presented by The Opposite of People  
Music & Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Directed by Cara Guappone
Musical direction by Samantha Prindiville

July 30th – August 2nd, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
OoP on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) Ordinary Days is a sweet, funny musical set in NYC by living composer (!) Adam Gwon. The Opposite of People took this cute but choppy, Jason Robert Brown-esque musical and gave it breadth in the Arsenal Center for the Arts. It had a slow start but it developed into a lovely production that shows promise for this fledgling company. Continue reading

Aug 04

Come for the Shakespeare, Stay for the Ice Cream: KING LEAR

Photos by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Photos by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Steven Maler

July 22 – August 9, 2015
FREE and Open to the Public
Parkman Bandstand
Boston Common
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company on Facebook

ASL-Interpreted Performances: Friday, July 31 @ 8pm and Sunday, August 2 @ 7pm
Audio Described Performance: July 30 @ 8pm (Rain date: August 9 at 7pm)

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Before I even get into nitty gritties, let me take a moment to marvel at the fact that Commonwealth Shakespeare Company has brought free Shakespeare to the masses for almost two decades now.  Nothing really says “summer” like Shakespeare al fresco, and Shakespeare on the Common is the way the arts should be: available, relatable, and welcoming.  I was particularly excited this year to witness (for my first time) CSC’s ASL interpreted performance; and those interpreters were working just as hard as (if not harder than) the performers onstage.  Shakespeare on the Common feels like a community coming together to support arts that include them; and that touches even my grinchy critic’s heart more than I can say. Continue reading

Aug 03

Frothy and Forgetful Summer Fare: “Shrek the Musical”

Photo © Paul Lyden

Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire
Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig
Musical directed by Michael Gacetta (why does NSMT keep leaving their music directors off the main page?)
Direction by Michael Heitzman
Choreography by Mara Greer

July 7 – 19, 2015
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

If you can’t smile at North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Shrek the Musical you really are an ogre, and I don’t mean the good kind that everyone cheers for to win the girl. However, if you can remember a song from this musical a few days after you watched it, you are a better reviewer than I. This production has all the trappings of a winsome summer blockbuster movie in that it’s something fun to watch while scarfing down popcorn with your family, but when the dazzle fades, there isn’t much there there. Continue reading

Jul 27

A Remarkable Felicity of Expression: “1776”

Photo credit: The Company Theatre

Photo credit: The Company Theatre

Presented by The Company Theatre
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone
Directed by Zoe Bradford and Jordie Saucerman
Musical Direction by Michael V. Joseph
Staging by Sally Ashton Forrest

July 24 – August 16, 2015
30 Accord Park Drive
Norwell, MA 02061
Company Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Norwell, MA) For a town that takes its history so seriously, Boston doesn’t give much love to 1776 (the musical).  In fact, this was the first time I had ever caught the play staged.  Of course I’m a devotee of the film, but I’ve always wanted to see a staged production of the show.  When I moved to Massachusetts four years ago, I thought I would see it produced at least once a season but found myself sorely mistaken.  So of course I leapt at the chance to see The Company Theatre’s 1776 and I am heartily glad I was in the audience to witness their triumph! Continue reading

Jul 27

The Greatest Show on Turf: COLOSSAL

Marlon Shepard as Mike and Alex Molina as Young Mike. (Photo by Mona Maruyama)

Marlon Shepard as Mike and Alex Molina as Young Mike. (Photo by Mona Maruyama)

Presented by Company One
An NNPN Rolling World Premier
Play by Andrew Hinderaker
Directed by Summer L. Williams

July 17 – August 15
Roberts Studio Theater at the BCA
527 Tremont St, Boston, MA
Company One on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) I’m not really a football fan.  Much to the chagrin of my darling beloved, I have a hard time sitting through anything sports-related, and being forced to watch several hours worth of men chasing a ball for no apparent reason sounds like hell to me.  But that, thankfully, did not prevent me from enjoying (almost) every minute of Company One’s Colossal. Continue reading

Jul 24

Unconventional Classical: Original Gravity Concert Series, July 23, 2015

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Original Gravity Concert Series: Cider & Music Pairing
Unique concert cider paired with the music of Dan VanHassel
Thursday, July 23, 2015
7pm (Concert @ 7:30)
Standing room – bring a folding chair or pull up some floor

Presented at Bantam Cider Company
40 Merriam St
Somerville, MA
Original Gravity on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Somerville, MA) The Original Gravity Concert Series pairs the compositions of current composers with local breweries. The concert presented on July 23 paired an original cider from Bantam Cider Company with the music of Dan VanHassel. The cider was blended with grapefruit juice and infused with Rakau hops. VanHassel’s compositions utilized influences from Indonesian gamelan, found bicycle wheels and electronic instruments, jazz and classical musical styles. The sound was eclectic and had to be heard to be believed. The cider was crisp with a sharp, bitter aftertaste. It was a classical music nerd’s slightly tipsy wet dream. Continue reading

Jul 21

“Laughing Wild” Sure to Make You LOL

Photo credit: Hub Theatre Company of Boston

Photo credit: Hub Theatre Company of Boston

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Written by Christopher Durang
Directed by Margaret Ann Brady

Friday, July 17 – Saturday, August 1, 2015
Club Cafe
Boston, MA
Hub Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) So you know when you’re in the tuna fish aisle at the grocery store and you end up punching somebody in the head and yelling at a baby to stop crying? Me neither. But this isolated event keeps the plot of Laughing Wild moving forward with enough humor that you start to think it’s actually quite relatable. Continue reading

Jul 17

A Boatload of Boobs: HARBURLESQUE

Photo credit: Queen Kitty

Onboard with Mina Murray, Scratch, Brigitte Bisoux, Stella Diamond; Photo credit: Queen Kitty.

Presented by the Boston Babydolls
Hosted by Mr. Scratch
Starring: Brigitte Bisoux, Mina Murray, Stella Diamond

Harburlesque:
Running now – Sept. 30, 2015
Rowe’s Wharf
Boston, MA
Boston Babydolls on Facebook
Must be 21+

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings: sexy, adult nudity

(Boston Harbor, MA) A sunset cruise around the harbor is terribly romantic. It’s even better when you add burlesque. Harburlesque is a Boston boobcruise hosted by the Boston Babydolls. To specify, it’s a booze-cruise with the added benefit of boobs. Wonderful, perky, twirling lady-breasts. It is 21+ for obvious reasons (tits and ass). It’s a lovely, sexy time. Continue reading

Jul 15

Dances with Agnostics: SAVING KITTY

Alexander Cook and Jennifer Coolidge; photo credit: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Alexander Cook and Jennifer Coolidge; photo credit: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
Written by Marisa Smith
Directed by Lee Mikeska

July 9 – August 2, 2015
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel (who could use some saving of her own)

(Cambridge, MA) Marisa Smith has written a very good script. Saving Kitty is so good that, if logistically possible, She should get a second production on its feet ASAP. This is because the Nora Theatre Company’s current production stars Jennifer Coolidge. Coolidge’s well-deserved star power overwhelms Smith’s writing (and the stage). It is inappropriately likely that patrons will remember Ms. Coolidge did a show in Boston that one time. They are less likely to remember whose show it was, what it was about, or who the supporting actors were. That’s a damn shame.    Continue reading