Aug 05

It’s Only Torture if Organs Fail: “Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them”

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Photo Credit: Titanic Theatre Co’s Facebook page. The company is not afraid of icebergs or snuggles.

By Christopher Durang
Directed by Adam Zahler
Presented by Titanic Theatre Company

July 25-August 10, 2013
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Titanic Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

M for Mature. Actors occasionally appear in their underoos.

(Watertown) The attack on the two towers in NYC and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 changed the way the United States viewed itself forever. Before that day, many citizens viewed North America as the most powerful entity in the world. After 9/11, we recognized our vulnerability as a country. Almost everyone was looking for answers. There were many who turned to The Arts for catharsis. These same people reacted in anger when artists turned back to them for compassion. The Arts were supposed to provide answers. While coping with the same shock, we artists didn’t know what to do either.

It’s been 12 years since the attacks and the US is still divided. Our media has moved on to bigger and newer things. But our artists are still processing the events and asking questions. The media has given the American people plenty of reasons to explain why Taliban members attacked. Thank goodness for The Arts. Playwright Christopher Durang hasn’t given up on understanding the U.S.’s response to the attacks of 9/11. Rather than focus on the “badness” of Ossama Bin Laden*, Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them ponders the American people’s decade-long reaction from the perspective of western, 20/20 hindsight. He peppers his absurdist play with Dadaism and panic. The script is a sweet bouquet of human experience and dramatic flair. Continue reading

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Jul 29

Of Two Minds: PSYCHO BEACH PARTY

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1077436_10151973249680101_1438822466_oPresented by Happy Medium Theatre Co. with Heart & Dagger Productions
by Charles Busch
Directed by Barbara DiGirolamo

July 25 – August 3, 2013
The Factory Theatre
Boston, MA
Happy Medium Theatre Co Facebook Page
Heart and Dagger Productions Facebook Page
Charles Busch Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Psycho Beach Party is an affectionate homage to the beach party movies of the ’60s and Gidget as well as a spoof of psychological suspense films.  By that I mean movies such as Hitchcock’s Marnie and Spellbound, or The Three Faces of Eve and The Snake Pit: films where someone has a deep-rooted neurosis and after five minutes of hypnosis a childhood trauma is revealed and the patient is well enough to buy a house in the suburbs and live happily after.  Oh, I love them all.”    – Charles Busch

(Boston) Adults of a certain age may recall Psycho Beach Party (2000) as a movie staring Buffy the Vampire Slayer heartthrob Nicholas Brendon as Star Cat. The movie also featured Lauren Ambrose as Chicklet and playwright Charles Busch as the sexy Captain Monica Stark (the movie was rewritten to give Mr. Busch a role as he had aged out of his original role as Chicklet). It is an homage to the swinging beach party movies of the 60’s and incorporates the quick and dirty psychology of an Hollywood-type gimmick to redeem the unladylike antics of a female lead. Alas, things have not changed too much for women in 50 years. Ladies still aren’t of conventional value to the public unless they can fill out a top and outwit a room full of boys. In that order. Continue reading

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Jul 29

Kids Cheer, Parents Endure: WIZARD OF OZ

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http://www.nsmt.org/images/Press/2013/WizardofOz/production/nsmt-oz-Witch.jpg

Photo Credit: North Shore Music Theatre

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Based on the book by Frank L. Baum
Music & Lyrics of the MGM Motion Picture score by: Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg
Background Music by: Herbert Stohart
Book Adaptation from the motion picture screenplay by: John Kane
Directed by Joel Ferrell
Music directed by William Stanley

July 16 – August 4, 2013
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
North Shore Music Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) Let’s cut to the chase: your kids will love it.  The North Shore Music Theatre’s production of the Wizard of Oz is colorful and brimming with energy and special effects.

But is it any good?  Ah, now there’s the rub.

First, you have to do a gut-check of the source material.  Can you handle a razzle-dazzle, overly-cute 1930’s big-box-office musical onstage?  Frankly, I have always had a hard time with it.  Strip away our strange reverence for this campy tale and it’s just bizarre that this show has such long legs. Continue reading

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Jul 26

Caucasian Chalk Circle: King Solomon’s Revenge?

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Photo Credit: Apollinaire Theatre Co Facebook Page

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
by Bertolt Brecht
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

Mary O’ Malley Park
Chelsea, MA
July 10th – July 27th, 2013
Apollinaire Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook and Kate Longberg-Lew

(Chelsea) Having grown up Catholic, I can spy a morality play when I see it.  We used to do some painfully bad skits in church class on the subject of good and evil…think a “very special” episode of Family Ties, without the acting.  It felt good, almost ritualistically cleansing, to present a moral world to an audience.  Continue reading

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Jul 26

It’s Like A Jungle . . . Sometimes: HOW WE GOT ON

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© Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by Company One
by Idris Goodwin
Directed by Summer L. Williams

July 19-August 17
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Company One Facebook Page

Review by Noe Kamelamela

(Boston) Company One has spent over a decade in Boston bringing theater to bear on a list of problems, which is nearly as long as their list of awards.  Their latest is a vibrant production that lays down a phat beat for diversity.  The audience I sat in was the most visibly excited and diverse audience I’ve experienced all year, possibly due to one of its key topics:  hip-hop. Continue reading

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Jul 24

Ladies Pondering Lives, Fashion in “Love, Loss, and What I Wore”

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Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
by Nora & Delia Ephron
based on the book by Ilene Beckerman
directed by Paula Plum

July 19 – August 3, 2013
The First Church in Boston
66 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA 02116
Hub Theatre Co of Boston Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Until recently, I scorned “chick lit” and “chick flicks,” resenting the idea that light, fluffy fare was meant for women alone.  I’ve begun to wonder, however, if the label has been stuck on books and films having to do with women because of how the material is approached or because it’s about women, period.  It’s an insulting, dismissive label and it would be a little too easy to slap it on Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Continue reading

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Jul 21

Beyond The Curtain of Fear: B.U.M.P. at Improv Boston

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Art courtesy of B.U.M.P. FB Page

Presented by Improv Boston
Managed by Ministry of Theater
Directed by Bryan Dunn
Produced by Pablo Rojas

June 28th – August 2nd, Fridays at 10pm
Improv Boston Mainstage Cambridge, MA
B.U.M.P. Facebook Page

Ensemble: Brian Agosta, Autumn Gillete, Corey O’Rourke, Sophie Shrand, Tim Stonelake, Christina Toohey, Marissa Wakuna, Misch Whitaker

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge) Boston’s Unscripted Musical Project at Improv Boston (formerly at Improv Asylum) is a good time. There’s cold beer and other beverages in the lobby. The seats are comfortable in the intimate mainstage theater. The cast will have you figuratively laughing your ass off in the first 10 minutes of the show. For these reasons and many more, B.U.M.P. is great – but it’s not for everyone. Continue reading

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Jul 19

Strung Together with Friends and Family: THE SHAKESPEAREAN JAZZ SHOW

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Photo Credit: Tripp Clemens

Presented by ArtsEmerson
“Conceiver”, Director – Alex Ates
Composer, Musical Director: Patrick Greeley
Puppeteers – Christina Kuchan, Orrin Whalen
Created by Alex Ates & Patrick Greeley

The Shakespearean Jazz Show is a Boston-born project created by young artists from Emerson College and Berklee College of Music.

July 18 & 19, 2013 at 8pm
Paramount Center Mainstage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson Facebook Page
Berklee College of Music Facebook Page
The Nine Worthies band Tumblr

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) There is so much potential for greatness in The Shakespearean Jazz Show that it’s truly tragic that it falls so far from its mark. Patrick Greeley writes some damn fine music; the Nine Worthies are a great band (I’m looking at you Jamila Dunham); the vocalists are quite sincere, the shadow puppets are very clever… But these separate elements do not make art on their own. They must be strung together. The talented members of Jazz Show did not make this happen. Continue reading

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Jul 16

Compassion, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent: HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH

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Photo by Na Eun Park, nabbed from https://www.facebook.com/HedwigOnStage

Produced by Rose Tinted Productions
Presented by Oberon, A.R.T.
By John Cameron Mitchell
Score by Stephen Trask
Directed by Ben Skinner

July 14, 2013
Club Oberon
Cambridge, MA

July 16, 8:30 PM > 10:00
Outside The Box Festival
Boston Common: Spiegeltent at Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Hedwig on Facebook

“Honey, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love someone else?…..Can I get an amen?”
- RuPaul
RuPaul’s Drag Race, seasons 1 – Eternity

(Cambridge) It is difficult to come up with something new to say about Hedwig and her angry inch. It’s an amazing show with brilliant music. It’s easy to do well as long as the leading lady gives herself freely to her audience and the art. Even bad performances can be good so long as the performers remain sincere. Rose Tinted Productions’ version of Hedwige and the Angry Inch sits somewhere in the middle – it’s not mediocre but it isn’t revolutionary either. The cast, band and crew are dedicated to Hedwig’s story. That’s more than enough reason to attend. Continue reading

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Jul 15

The Theory of Everything Explained: “Supergravity and the Eleventh Dimension”

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Photo Credit: Paul Cantillon, LIDEC Photo

Presented by Vagabond Theatre Group
By Heather Houston
Directed by James Peter Sotis

July 11 – 20, 2013
The Factory Theatre
Boston, MA
Vagabond Theatre Group Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Einstein’s Law of Thermodynamics states that “energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.” This quote from a beloved theoretical physicist describes the natural state of constant flux in the world around us. This quote is often bastardized by Religion* to explain the existence of God, a Super-creator from whence all the energy of life flows. God must exist, they paraphrase, because the energy to create the universe must have come from somewhere… It must have come from God! Ladies and Gentlemen, God and Science can sit at the same table but this isn’t the room they sit in. Continue reading

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