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

Aug 08

Not A Leftover: DOG PADDLE (Or, Struggling Inelegantly Against Drowning)

Photo by Andrew Brilliant

Photo by Andrew Brilliant, from Facebook.

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater
By Retro Finger
Translated by Lily Sykes
Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon

August 4-20, 2016
Studio Theater at Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MADog Paddle (Or, Struggling Inelegantly Against Drowing) is a brisk 55 minutes long. It is brief, packs a wallop, and, to be blunt, is just short enough that one can still run errands or what have you before the day’s exhaustion catches up. Dog Paddle is an opportunity to enjoy cranial, abstract theatre without wearing one out for the rest of life. It’s perfect. Continue reading

May 12

Feelings Are Difficult for Marines: DOGFIGHT

Eddie & Rose Take In the View; Photo by Glenn Perry.

Eddie & Rose Take In the View; Photo by Glenn Perry.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Music and lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Book by Peter Duchan
Based on the Warner Bros. film and screenplay by Bob Comfort
Directed by Paige Daigneault
Music direction by Jose Delgado
Choreography by Larry Sousa

May 7 – June 4, 2016
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Speakeasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MADogfight is yet another musical with serious complications that SpeakEasy maneuvers with poise and dignity. It’s like Disney’s Newsies if the newsboys are replaced with marines and their fight for entrepreneurial justice is replaced with explicitly misogynistic displays of dudebro cruelty. Well, the music sounds a little like Newsies anyway. Continue reading

Mar 24

Major and Minor Details: BIG FISH

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Book by John August
Music & Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Based on the Novel by Daniel Wallace and the Columbia Motion Picture Written by John August
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Assistant Director Alex Lonati
Musical Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Larry Sousa

MAR 13 – APR 11, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St.
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) I did not enjoy Big Fish. I did enjoy SpeakEasy’s production. The performances from the cast were, as always, exemplary but the script has many problems. Follow along as I list the major issues and make the conscious decision not to detail the minor ones. Continue reading

May 20

Blood, Gore and Mediocrity: CARRIE THE MUSICAL

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
Music by Michael Gore
Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
Book by Lawrence D. Cohen
Based on the novel by Stephen King
Directed by Paul Melone
Music directed by Nicholaus James Connell
Choreographed by Larry Sousa

Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Speakeasy on Facebook
Stephen King on Facebook
This awesome goat on Facebook

Trigger Warning: Fanatical Christianity, Gore, Attractive Youths Kissing, Depictions of High School  

Review by Kitty Drexel mediocrity

(Boston) The story of Carrietta White is supposed in invoke sympathy from its reader. Stephen King wrote a story about a young woman so hopelessly naïve and sheltered from the world that she has no tactics to cope with common life stressors. It’s easy enough to relate to her story, to put ourselves in her shoes because everyone feels like an outsider at one time or another. Unfortunately, Carrie is not actually a relatable character. Her life is in no way comparable to another’s. The impossible fantasy of Carrie is what makes the novel/movie/musical. Attempting to make her relatable or identifiable is a stretch that is in no way feasible. And yet, as long as there are outsiders who wish they had super powers, the comparison will be made anyway. Continue reading

May 13

A Movement in Technicolor: IN THE HEIGHTS

Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes
Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music directed by Nicholas James Connell
Choreography by Larry Sousa

Boston Center for the Arts
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Speakeasy Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) In the Heights tackles heavy subjects such as endemic poverty, Immigration Reform, affordable education and racial stereotype with canny artistic expression. This community in Washington Heights might be needy but they are not poor. They are proud, hardworking and passionate people who strive for a better life. Just like you and me.

This music incorporates traditional Latin dance with Rap, Hiphop, and Flow poetry, among many others. The dancing looks like it is straight from America’s Best Dance Crew. The ensemble dance scenes are electric and justifiably make the show the stand-out production that it is. The cast adapts to the different styles and each other with such ease it’s as if they studied at the same school. Continue reading

Jul 18

Bye, Bye, Birdie: Fully Loaded Fun

 

photo credit: Reagle Players

Bye, Bye, Birdie, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, book by Michael Stewart, Reagle Music Theatre, Waltham High School Robinson Theatre, 7/13/12-7/22/12, http://www.reagleplayers.com/current.html#Birdieinfo.

Reviewed by John Herring

(Waltham, MA) I’ve always enjoyed seeing shows at Waltham High School’s Robinson Theatre. The audience space is ample, clean and comfortable, the orchestra pit plenty big enough for a mid-size ensemble, the technical facility is as good as or better than many professional theatres, and the acoustics are good. Which brings me to the sound quality of the orchestra. Winds and strings went together as tightly as I recall ever hearing a show orchestra play, with volume to fully envelop the listeners. So much so that I worried about the actors having to belt when they should soften, or being overpowered altogether. But worries were unfounded. Music Director Dan Rodriguez and Conductor Jeff Leonard made sure that the orchestra did what any good show orchestra should do – support and enhance the action. Continue reading