Oct 22

Geeks Read Books: “John” by Annie Baker

John by Annie Baker
Published by TCG (NYC) in June 2016
$14.95 paperback
$30.00 hardcover
www.tcg.org

Review by Kitty Drexel

I was given a gratis copy of John by TCG in return for my review. My opinions are my own. Anyone who thinks otherwise can fight me.

TCG summarizes the play thusly, “the week after Thanksgiving. A Bed & Breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A cheerful innkeeper. A young couple struggling to stay together. Thousands of inanimate objects, watching.” The truth is much creepier than that.

Elias and Jenny are traveling through Gettysburg on a mini-vacation. They are a textbook example of pre-breakup behaviors: they don’t value each other’s struggles or input. They are distant to the point of unintentional neglect. They are staying at Mertis’ freezing cold bed and breakfast. Mertis has awkward boundaries. She doesn’t read between the lines. Neither do they. As the play unfolds, the couple is forced to confront their self-absorbed assumptions regarding each other. Everything and nothing is a metaphor for their experiences. Continue reading

Jun 30

“Show Boat” A Successful Voyage

Photo credit: Eric Antoniou

Photo credit: Eric Antoniou

Presented by Fiddlehead Theatre Company
Music by Jerome Kern
Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Co-Directed by Meg Fofonoff and Stacey Stephens
Musical Direction by Charles Peltz
Choreography by Wendy Hall

June 22-July 3, 2016
Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
Fiddlehead on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) I grew up on classic musicals like The King and I and Call Me Madam. After seeing Fiddlehead Theatre Company’s production of Show Boat, I’m surprised that my grandmother never introduced the show to me at an early age. While knowing the show may have given me a higher appreciation for seeing the staged version, I can’t deny that I was caught off guard with how enjoyable Show Boat turned out to be. Continue reading

Jun 28

Spider Cult’s Tangled Webs of B-Movie Burlesque Pastiche

The Sweethearts via their website www.theslaughterhousesweethearts.com/

The Sweethearts, photo via their website www.theslaughterhousesweethearts.com/

Presented by Jade Sylvan and Fem Bones
Starring the Slaughterhouse Sweethearts
Created by Jade Sylvan (playwright & producer) Fem Bones (creator, director, & choreographer), Catherine Capozzi (composer, guitarist, & band leader)

June 24 at 6:30PM, 10PM
June 26 at 5PM, 8:30PM
The Oberon
Cambridge, MA
Spider Cult: The Musical Facebook Page
Spider Cult: The Musical Soundtrack

By Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Spider Cult: The Musical is deep fried pulp, beer-battered in burlesque and costume blood. This is a certain kind of creepy, specifically a Boston kind, certainly my kind. The choreographed fight scenes and blood shed are as enthusiastic as the stripping. While the plot didn’t need to be anything other than be a skeleton on which one could hang a few themed, stylish burlesque routines, Jade Sylvan and Fem Bones gives us violence, pathos, and insight into human relationships—a many-legged beast of a story. Continue reading

Jun 27

Rising Above: FUNNY GIRL

Shoshana Bean is Fanny Brice, Photo © Paul Lyden

Shoshana Bean is Fanny Brice, Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by by Isobel Lennart (from an original story penned by Lennart)
Composed by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Bob Merrill
Directed and choreographed by James Brennan
Music directed by Mark Hartman

June 7 – 19, 2016
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Kate Idlebrook

I walked away from a showing of Funny Girl not at all a fan of the script, but a great fan of the production at the North Shore Music Theatre.  Continue reading

Jun 23

By the time you notice her, you’re already caught in the web: “Spider Cult the Musical”

13227041_1709956299255837_8492057768646383105_nScripted and Produced by Jade Sylvan
Created, Directed, Choreographed and Produced by Fem Bones
Music by Catherine Capozzi

June 24 6:30 pm and 10:30 pm
June 26 5 pm and 8:30 pm
Club Oberon
Cambridge, MA
Spider Cult on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge, MA) Back in 2012, a Kickstarter campaign funded quite a bit of Fem Bones’ Revenge of the Battle Robot Nuns, a sci-fantastical burlesque show birthed by the Slaughterhouse Sweethearts, possibly New England’s only horror burlesque troupe.  Spider Cult: The Musical is a spin-off set in the same universe and  it retains quite a lot of the slashes of the macabre and deviant sexuality that made Revenge so memorable. Initially, Jade Sylvan pitched Scout’s story to Fem Bones as a spin-off movie after seeing Revenge.  Jade was enamoured of Revenge because the action reminded them of discovering weirdness and sexuality for the first time as a queer individual.  Instead of creating a movie, Jade banged out a script for a live show which gets translated by the indomitable Fem Bones and the Slaughterhouse Sweeties with special guests onto the Oberon stage this Friday and Sunday for one weekend only.   Fans and other supporters of fringe theatre stepped up via Kickstarter yet again to fund the first reading as well as the creation of the show. Continue reading

Jun 19

“Twelfth Night” and “What You Will”: A Play Two Ways

A.R. Sinclair Photography

A.R. Sinclair Photography

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company & Bedlam
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Eric Tucker

Twelfth Night: June 9-July 10, 2016
What You Will: June10-July 9, 2016
Central Square Theatre
Cambridge, MA
Bedlam on Facebook
Central Square Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) During my senior year of high school, being the drama club geek that I was, I took a Shakespeare class. The professor was insane, but amazing, and the biggest takeaway I got from the class was that Shakespeare really wanted to give the players in a show the right to manipulate and interpret his text as much as possible. Therefore, it seems quite fitting that Bedlam decided to split Twelfth Night, or What You Will into two separate productions of the same exact show using the same five actors to tell the same story with different narratives and tones. Continue reading

Jun 14

The Emperor’s New Pseudoscience: BLINDERS

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Suck it Trump (via Tumblr)

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Korinne T. Ritchey

June 10 – 25, 2016
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook
Chris and Alex 11!!!!11 on Tumblr

Review by Kitty Drexel

I’m not going to make this review about Orlando, FL. That would not help Flat Earth or the 50+ victims of terrorist action. I’ve put info about constructively helping at the bottom of this review. Now go actively spread love and dismantle hate when and where you see it.

(Watertown, MA) The “scientific” discovery of two identical snowflakes has sparked a fad for naturally identical things. Shortly after the snowflake discovery, Chris (Matt Arnold) and Alex (Justus Perry), two exactly alike, human carbon copies are found. They are men who share one experience in two bodies. They are not twins. The US goes bonkers for their celebrity. Their rapid popularity makes Bieber Fever tame in comparison. Try as one might, they are impossible to avoid. They run for President in a campaign too popular to fail. Continue reading

Jun 13

“Carousel” Not a Merry Show but a Pleasant Ride

Photo courtesy Reagle Music Theatre/©Herb Philpott

Photo courtesy Reagle Music Theatre/©Herb Philpott

Presented by Reagle Music Theatre
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Directed & Choreographed by Rachel Bertone
Musical Direction by Dan Rodriguez

June 9-19, 2016
Waltham, MA
Reagle Music Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Waltham, MA) It always feels a bit dissociative when I see a show that is technically a good production, but the show itself is rather terrible. While watching Reagle Music Theatre’s Carousel, I clapped, I scoffed, rolled my eyes, and was constantly asking myself, “Why?” Continue reading

Jun 09

Cirque du Soleil’s “Kurios” Packed with the Usual Curiosities

Presented by Cirque du Soleil 
Written and directed by Michel Laprise
Director of creation – Chantal Tremblay
Compositions and music direction by Raphaël Beau
Compositions and arrangements by Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard
Acrobatic choreography by Andrea Ziegler, Rob Bollinger, Yaman Okur, Ben Potvin, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Susan Gaudreau, Germain Guillemot, Boris Verkhovsky, Danny Zen

May 26th (premier) – July 10th, 2016
Suffolk Downs
525 McClellan Highway
East Boston, MA 02128
Kurious on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Suffolk Downs, Boston, MAKurios, unlike the other two Cirque du Soleil shows I’ve reviewed for The New England Theatre Geek, is tied to a world of technology and innovation. In 2012, Totem offered meditations on natural history, complete with frogs. Amaluna came to Boston in 2014 and involved a shipwreck on an island wild with magic, a loose adaptation of The Tempest. Kurios, though, is centered on 19th century trains, gramophones, laboratories, and aerial machines. Continue reading

Jun 07

More Fun Than Interviewing Pigeons: “The Birds and the Bees”

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Presented by Sleeping Weazel
Written by Kate Snodgrass (Bark), Adara Meyers (Birds), Charlotte Meehan (Beesus)
Directed by Melia Bensussen (Bark & Beesus), Shana Gozansky (Birds)

June 2 – 11, 2016
Plaza Black Box Theater
539 Tremont St
Boston, MA
Sleeping Weazel on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAThe Birds and the Bees: A Festival of New Plays is good albeit strange theatre. Play #1, The Last Bark is the most concrete of the three plays that make up this production. Birds is post post-modern theatre. Beesus & Ballustrada is even more abstract than Birds. The performances are compelling. The scripts are perplexing. Continue reading