Jul 23

Hops Along at a Hip Clip: “Welcome To Arroyo’s”

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Photo from Circuit Theatre website. Look at all these POCs!

Presented by Circuit Theatre Company
By Kristoffer Diaz
Directed by Jen Diamond

July 9-July 27
Club Oberon
2 Arrow St
Cambridge, MA
Circuit Theatre on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge) Performed in repertory with The Walk Across Mother Earth, Taylor Mac’s ode to the political march, Kristoffer Diaz’s coming of age tale features a brother and sister from Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  The Circuit Theatre Company hands in a breezy summer confection, heavy on fun and low on substance. Continue reading

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Jul 15

A Sinking Feeling: DISNEY’S A LITTLE MERMAID

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Adrienne Eller as Ariel in North Shore Music Theatre's Production of Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID running July 8 - 27, 2014. Photo©Paul Lyden

Adrienne Eller as Ariel in North Shore Music Theatre’s Production of Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID running July 8 – 27, 2014. Photo©Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Book by Doug Wright
Based on the Hans Christian Andersen Story and the Disney Film produced by Howard Ashman & John Musker and written & directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
Direction by Michael Heitzman
Music directed by Bruce Barnes
Choreography by AC Ciulla

July 8th – July 27th, 2014
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) Whenever you are suspending disbelief, there are rules that must be followed to create a new reality. It doesn’t matter if you are writing Game of Thrones or playing make-believe with a 2-year-old, the ground rules, once established, have to be enforced or the whole thing falls apart.

That is perhaps the main reason why the musical version of Disney’s A Little Mermaid, playing at the North Shore Music Theatre, couldn’t hook either me or for my 8-year-old daughter. This show is largely aquatic, but director Michael Heitzman fails to create a sea for our imagination. Sometimes, the merpeople and fish hobble awkwardly in tight fin-like gear; other times, they use the same wires and pulleys to occupy the same air as the seagull. Merpeople aren’t allowed on land, until they are at the end of the play. Too often, they crossed the streams. Continue reading

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Jun 16

The Smartest Play in Town: SMART PEOPLE

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Roderick Hill as Brian White and McKinley Belcher III as Jackson Moore in Smart People. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Roderick Hill as Brian White and McKinley Belcher III as Jackson Moore in Smart People. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by the Huntington Theatre
Written by Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Peter DuBois

June 25th – July 6th, 2014
Calderwood Pavelion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) How we view race defines us, but we often don’t like to examine how we view race, at least not directly. To write well about race in America requires both a deep understanding of society and a deeper self-examination of one’s own feelings to sort out fact from feeling, and to know when to use both to create an artistic vision. Successful attempts to write well in fiction about this dicey subject are rare; most either skitter across the surface or descend into lecture. Continue reading

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Jun 06

Unrelable Narrator presents “Human Contact: Short Sci-Fi Plays”

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Unrelable Narrator presents Human Contact: Short Sci-Fi Plays
Written by Carl Danielson

(BOSTON) Performances are July 11-19 at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.  Tickets are $15/$12 for students and seniors at http://www.unreliable-narrator.com or call (866) 811-4111. Check out humancontactshorts.tumblr.com for more information, and follow us on Twitter @unarrator or like “Unreliable Narrator” on Facebook!

Danielson’s Human Contact: Short Sci-Fi Plays is an evening of five thought-provoking one-acts that ask whether technology robs the soul or augments it.  These original tales explore the evolution of the nature of humankind as we confront aliens, time travel, self-directed evolution, and more.  With well-crafted stories performed by a large cast of Boston’s finest actors, Human Contact is a unique vision of the 21st Century’s future.

Founded in 2008, Unreliable Narrator produces strange homemade theater in and around Boston. They are best known for creating 2010: Our Hideous Future: The Musical!, which began at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and played at various theatres, bars, and sci-fi conventions in the Northeast from 2010-2012. Other Unreliable Narrator productions include 2008’s Schmolitics, 2009’s Paranormal, and 2011′s The Way of the Warrior-Bunny.

The plays of Human Contact: Continue reading

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Jun 02

Over-the-Top Big Top: Cirque du Soleil’s “Amaluna”

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Presented by Cirque du Soleil
Created by Guy Laliberté, Gilles Ste-Croix, Fernand Rainville
Directed by Diane Paulus
Composed and music directed by Bob & Bill (Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard)
Choreographed by Karole Armitage
Acrobatic choreographers Debra Brown & Caitlan Maggs
“Sanddornbalance” Act by Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque

May 30 – July 6, 2014
Boston Marine Industrial Park on the Waterfront
Boston, MA
Amaluna on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

Lightly adapting the The Tempest and playing fast and loose with source materials of multiples mythologies, Amaluna patches together dreamy images and circus acts into one, outlandish show. It’s energetic and fittingly over-the-top. Cirque du Soleil has an image to maintain as a thoroughly extravagant circus and they continue this grand tradition by marrying the flashiness of Las Vegas to a syrupy storyline. Continue reading

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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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