Jun 26

Give Me What I Deserve ‘Cause It’s My Right: FIDELIO

Photo credit: www.MattConti.com; impatient for reform, the prisoner ensemble takes some sun.

Presented by NEMPAC Opera Project
Opera by Ludwig van Beethoven
Libretto by Joseph von Sonnleithner
Artistic and stage direction by Rebecca Miller
Music direction and conducting by Dr. Tiffany Chang

June 22-25, 2017
Faneuil Hall
The Great Hall
Boston, MA
NEMPAC on Facebook

Sung in German with supertitles, dialogue in German for performer acting and audience comprehension compatibility.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Beethoven nails the human condition with his only opera. Fidelio is about the lengths we go to for those we love. Yet, Beethoven reminds us, it is unwise to underestimate the insecurities of the vengeful. NEMPAC’s production was a challenging joy. Continue reading

Jun 15

Don’t Choke on Your Spotted Dick: “Penny Penniworth: A Story of Great Good Fortune”


Presented by Titanic Theatre Company
Written by Chris Weikel
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

June 8 – 25, 2017
Central Square Theater Studio
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Titanic on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MATitanic Theatre Company’s Penny Penniworth: A Story of Great Good Fortune can be described as a summer panto minus the music, but plus a heaping spoonful of innuendo. It’s a swift, good time for adults who love classic literature (so long as they can take a joke), and refreshing summer theatre.    Continue reading

Jun 10

Reinforced with Lug Nuts: SORDID LIVES (Portland, OR)

Nikolas Hoback as Ty, Signe Larsen as Latrelle, Landy Hite as Sissy, Jennifer Lanier as Lavonda and Amanda Richards as Bitsy; Image from the OUTwright Theatre Festival Facebook page.

Presented by Fuse Theatre Ensemble and Funhouse Lounge
Part of the 2017 OUTwright Theatre Festival
Written by Del Shores
Directed and designed by Rusty Tennant

May 19 – June 11, 2017
Funhouse Lounge
Portland, Oregon
Fuse Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

A very special thank you to Fuse Theatre and Funhouse Lounge for allowing me to review their excellent production!

(Portland, OR)  Our existence is our resistance. One basic way we as minority community members can fight back against the current bullshit political crisis is by refusing to be silent or ignored. Theatre makers, we can make as much noisy, politically incorrect and socially unacceptable art. As the TCG 2017 Conference asked how we go about celebrating equity, diversity and inclusivity, I gathered by people. We ran across the bridge to Fuse Theatre’s production of Sordid Lives.

Continue reading

Jun 10

Blood on the Snow: A journey back in time to Boston’s bloody beginnings

The Cast of Blood on the Snow. Photo by Justin Saglio.

Presented by The Bostonian Society
Written by Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Courtney O’Connor

June 1 – August 20, 2017
The Old State House
Boston, MA
Bostonians on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA) It is March 6, 1770, bloodshed, discontent and rebellion bubbles in the air. Four Bostonians lie dead on the streets outside the Council Chamber and British soldiers are held responsible. The people of Boston are sick of British rule, the soldiers and their taxes – they want them out. Inside Governor Hutchinson is faced with an impossible choice: defy his King, or defend his country? This site specific play takes the audience back in time to a forgotten night that helped shaped the course of, not only the city’s history, but the world’s. Blood on the Snow sold out at its world premiere last Spring and returns to The Old State House in Boston this summer. O’Connor’s naturalistic direction is spot on, allowing the audience to be unnoticed voyeurs alongside the table where history was made. Continue reading

Jun 05

Odyssey Opera’s “Patience” is Pitch Perfect

Photo by Kathy Wittman

Odyssey Opera
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Libretto by W.S. Gilbert
Conductor: Gil Rose
Stage Director: Frank Kelley
Choreographer: Larry Sousa

June 2&3, 2017 at 7:30pm
Huntington Avenue Theatre
Boston, MA
Facebook Event

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) After seeing the most recent Gilbert and Sullivan to delight Boston last night, I’ve decided to become an aesthete. One need only find an English poet with opaque poetry to adore, dress in long, flowing garments, talk about the wonders of Aestheticism, lay around, and sigh. But while Patience mocks the women who fawn over pale, tragic poet Reginald Bunthorne (the remarkably funny Aaron Engebreth), it also mocks the Dragoons who are their forgotten fiancees, the vain rival poet Archibald Grosvenor (an airily confident Paul Max Tipton), and the humble, befuddled milk maid, the titular Patience (Sara Heaton), who’s too innocent to understand what the concept of love even is. In short, this is a Gilbert and Sullivan show at its most Gilbert and Sullivan: staunchly lighthearted. Continue reading

May 23

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Midspring

The “Mechanicals” in the play within a play: Mac Young, Elle Borders, Monica Giordano, Jake Athyal and a prone Steven Barkhimer. Photo by Nile Scott Shots.

Presented by Actor’s Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Patrick Swanson

May 10-June 4, 2017
Multicultural Arts Center
41 Second Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
Actors’ Shakespeare Project on Facebook and Instagram

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) Any fan of Shakespeare’s work knows how malleable his plays are. You could see the same show for years and years and still experience something different each time. In Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s most recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this trend continues. Continue reading

May 12

Love Flusters Money: ANNIE

Presented by Troika Entertainment, LLC
Book by Thomas Meehan
Music by Charles Strause
Lyrics by Martin Charnin
Based on the “Little Orphan Annie,” a comic strip by Harold Gray which was based on the 1885 poem “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley
Directed by Martin Charnin
Choreographed by Liza Gennaro
Music directed and conducted by Keith Levenson
Animals wrangled by William Berloni

May 9 – 21, 2017
The Wang Theatre operated by Boch Center
Boston, MA
Boch Center on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAI’m a stoic deeply bruised by current events, but Annie at the Wang is such an uplifting show that I was able to smile and think of happier times. This production is a fast-paced, clean cut piece of theatre. Escapism isn’t always productive, but this particular dose isn’t doing anyone any harm.   Continue reading

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