May 25

“Mud Blue Sky”: A Comedy About Turbulent Lives

Photo by Marc J. Franklin

Photo by Marc J. Franklin

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston
By Marisa Wegrzyn
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

May 15-June 5, 2016
Deane Hall, Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Bridge Repertory Theater on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) I tend to get bored easily when watching comedic plays. They need to be clever but relatable, funny but with strokes of brutal honesty. Most times, shows fail to live up to my expectations, but I continue to see them because when one does I have an amazingly good time. Thankfully, Marisa Wegrzyn’s Mud Blue Sky was a perfect example of the latter. Continue reading

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

Jul 01

People Can Only Be Who They Are As Written: THE WAKEVILLE STORIES

with Meg Di Maggio and Michael Kelly at Veterans' Memorial Cemetery. Photo credit: Matty Mae Theater Project

with Meg Di Maggio and Michael Kelly at Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery. Photo credit: Matty Mae Theater Project

The Wakeville Stories
Presented by Matty Mae Theater Project
Written by Laurence Carr
Directed by Kristin Carr

June 19-28, 2015
2 Venues:
1. Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm St
Somerville, MA

2.Somerville Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery
1330 Broadway
Somerville, MA
Wakeville Stories on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Somerville, MA) The landscaping of the Somerville Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery with its high walls and leafy trees made a charming stage for The Wakefield Stories. The gardens of the cemetery were a vibrant contrast to the occasionally morbid script. The hum of bees accompanied actors’ dialogue on the effects of war on communities. The Matty Mae Theater Project performed this new work by Laurence Carr there and also in the Davis Square Theatre. I was not able to enjoy this production in the black box, but I can imagine that it was an entirely different experience.   Continue reading

Jun 23

Full STE(A)M Ahead: “The Farnsworth Invention”

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

June 12 – 27, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) It would be awesome for the good people at Epic Rap Battles of History to pit Philo Farnsworth against David Sarnoff. According to The Farnsworth Invention, these boys reached Telsa/Edison levels of rivalry. That would make for some great entertainment.

Sorkin’s play is an inaccurate account of the race to invent television. It is told via dual narration between David Sarnoff (Michael Fisher) and Philo Farnsworth (Chris Larson). As each man’s life is explained to the audience, we learn important historical facts about their discovery process as well as personal insights. Sarnoff is a stoic dick with classical tastes and standards. Philo Farnsworth is a happy-go-lucky genius with nervous tendencies. The cast’s ensemble play multiple characters, frequently in the same scene, who directly influence the grand discovery. This production is performed in the round, with minimal props and set pieces, and stark lighting.   Continue reading

Jun 23

“Dying City” Brought to Life in Small Space

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Company
Part of the Home Grown Theater Project
Written by Christopher Shinn
Directed by Cameron Cronin

June 25 – July 11, 2015
Dates and seats are limited due to the nature of the production. More information can be found here.
Boston, MA
Happy Medium on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) If less does is fact mean more, the Happy Medium Theatre’s production of Dying City has a lot of potential to surprise audiences.

Performed in the literal living room of actors Kiki Samko and Michael Underhill, a married couple, Dying City opens on Kelly, a widow in her late twenties living in New York City. As she packs up some of her belongings, her estranged brother-in-law, Peter, who also happens to be her deceased husband’s identical twin, arrives without warning, much to Kelly’s discomfort. Continue reading

Jun 16

Sanitized Motown: DREAMGIRLS

Photo©Paul Lyden

Photo©Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book & lyrics by Tom Eyen
Composed by Henry Krieger
Directed & choreographed by Nick Kenkel
Music direction by Jesse Vargas

June 2-14, 2015
North Shore Music Theatre
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

Sometimes, a musical is cursed with potential. The action on stage may be enough to bring the crowd to its feet, but you can still walk away thinking it should have been something more. Continue reading

Jun 12

Don’t Image Search ‘Felching’: “After All The Terrible Things I Do”

© T Charles Erickson Photography

© T Charles Erickson Photography

Presented by Huntington Theatre Co.
Written by A. Rey Pamatmat
Directed by Peter DuBois

May 22 – June 21, 2015
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Huntington Theatre’s production of  After All The Terrible Things I Do has a start so rough that it was surprising that it ended so well. Our first impression is of the glorious stage by Clint Ramos. The bookstore set where are heros interact evokes the recognizable bittersweet nostalgia of favored reading holes. There are nooks and crannies, patches of light and dark. It’s nearly perfect. All it needs is a fat tabby napping on a pillow of paperbacks. Continue reading

Jun 09

Who Doesn’t Like Penis Stuff? : THREE

Adulthood blows. Enjoy your youth now. Photo Credit: Ron Spalletta

Adulthood blows. Enjoy your youth now. Photo Credit: Ron Spalletta

Presented by Boston Public Works Theatre Company
By Emily Kaye Lazzaro
Directed by A. Nora Long

June 5 – 20, 2015
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Black Box
Boston, MA
BPW on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Hollywood characterizes women like they’re mysterious flowers incapable of raunch or, conversely, like unsexy raunch-machines that repel penises. Theatre is kinder to us by generally allowing us our humanity, albeit a fragile one that must be guarded… unless characterizing us as a Strong Female Character who is impervious to nurturing. The unjust stereotypes abound. Why can’t we be complicated people who attempted to appropriately abide the status quo while farting into a void? This is who we are. You know, just like dudes.    Continue reading

Jul 15

Go Big or Go Home: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

The Cast. Photo found on It’s A Fiasco Facebook page.

It’s a Fiasco Theatre Company
by William Shakespeare
Sponsored by the City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Arts Council – presented under the auspices of the Actors’ Equity Association Member’s Project Code.

June 19 – 29, 2014
Longfellow Park, 175 Mt. Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA
It’s A Fiasco on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

Think for a moment of the conditions under which Shakespeare was performed in the Elizabethan era and you realize this play was never meant to be locked away in an ivory tower. At the time the words of these plays were fresh, so was the concept of public sanitation. Most of the population was illiterate, and probably a good amount of them shared their skin with some form of vermin. Even in the hallowed halls of royal theater, the patrons probably stank to high heaven and air conditioning was a couple of centuries from being invented. So if at first glance it seems incongruous to speak some of the English language’s best poetry next to a Cambridge water park, it might be best to remember this probably would have been considered a pretty gentile staging grounds back in the day. Continue reading

Jun 30

Revamped *Cough* Vampire Comedy for Modernity: DER VAMPYR

Photo © OperaHub

Presented by OperaHub
1828 music by Heinrich Marschner
1828 German libretto by Wilhelm August Wohlbrück
1828 libretto based on the play Der Vampir oder die Totenbraut by Heinrich Ludwig Ritter
2014 arrangement by Moshe Shulman
2014 libretto by John J King
Music direction by Lina Marcel Gonzalez
Stage direction by Christie Lee Gibson

June 19 – 28, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Theatre
Boston, MA

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: Light smut, Feminism

(Boston) Der Vampyr is a decadently feminist adaptation of Marschner’s original. This new arrangement presented by OperaHub tackles the difficult truths of male entitlement, victim blaming and rape culture that all women face on a daily basis. If you, the reader, do not believe in gender equality, this opera is not for you. If you believe that rape culture is not a pervasive truth all women face, then this opera is not for you. It would be best if you pulled your fedora over your eyes and stopped reading this review now. Continue reading