Nov 20

“Love Potion” Number Nine

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Photos by Eric Antoniou, Boston Lyric Opera 2014.

Photos by Eric Antoniou, Boston Lyric Opera 2014.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Frank Martin
Based on Joseph Bédier’s 1900 novel Roman de Tristan et Iseut
New English translation by Hugh Macdonald
Stage Director David Schweizer
Conductor David Angus (Ryan Turner on Nov. 22)

November 19 – 23, 2014
Temple Ohabei Shalom
1187 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA
Boston Lyric Opera on Facebook

Of all the art forms out there, the slowest to adapt to the shifting sands of time is theatre. This is true for many reasons (how long it takes to produce a piece of theatre, how many fingers have to be in the theatre pie, and how many minds have to be shifted about the fundamental precepts of the art form just to name a few…). Some might call this a devotion to tradition; theatre (after all) does have a long and vibrant history to honor at every step of the production process. Others might call it a weakness which, Darwineanly, will be the very demise of the art form if it doesn’t find some way to evolve. Continue reading

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Nov 18

The Strange Sensation You Feel is Part of the Process: BAT BOY

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bat boyPresented by The Office for the Arts at Harvard
Book by Kythe Farley & Brian Flemming
Music & Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe
Directed by Ally Kiley
Music directed by Cynthia Meng

Nov. 14-22, 2014
The Farkatorium
10 Holyoke St
Cambridge, MA
Bat Boy on Facebook
Harvard Office for the Arts on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: sexy animal orgy, partial male nudity, incest

(Cambridge, MA) The Office for the Arts at Harvard has had the rare privilege to host the creators of Bat Boy for a workshop on their monster musical. They have made some significant edits: shortening the run time from 3 hours to 2, cutting of songs, cutting of incidental plot lines and some script editing. The current production presented in the Farkatorium Center for the Arts is still the same Pygmalion meets Edward Scissorhands meets Christ child storyline as the original except a lot simpler. The edits have smoothed over the wrinkles of the original show and kept the endearingly off-putting essence of the off-Broadway science fiction jewel. Continue reading

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Nov 18

Emotional Complexity on a Beige Stage: THE TROJAN WOMEN

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trojan ladiesPresented by Theatre@First
Written by Euripides
Translated by Edith Hamilton
Directed by J. Deschene

Nov. 14-22, 2014
Unity Church of Somerville
Somerville, MA
T@F on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel
In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I did audition for this play and was not cast. It is my firm belief that only a narcissistic ass would allow this to taint their review.

 

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

Margaret Atwood

(Somerville, MA) The Trojan Women was first produced in 415 BCE but might as well have been written last year. In it, the women of Troy (now Turkey) are grieving over their beloved fallen city, and the men who have died defending the city from the Greeks. Euripides so captured the trauma of a country torn by war, that his play has been made into a very famous 1971 film (featuring the alluring Katharine Hepburn as Hecuba, a brave and unusual choice) and has survived several adaptations and manipulations. The translation by Edith Hamilton remains the most popular for staging. The movie featuring Hepburn, Irene Papas, and Vanessa Redgrave, etc. is a classic. Continue reading

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Nov 17

Faith, Family, and Fireworks: BAD JEWS

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Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw

October 24 – November 29, 2014
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
October 24th – November 29th, 2014
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kate Lew Idlebrook

(Boston) Bad Jews asks a question that is fundamental to so many young “Jew-ish” Jews. Are we bad Jews? Are we letting our faith, our traditions, our race die out? Now, in a time when it has arguably never been safer or easier to be Jewish, are we sitting by and letting our very culture die? Continue reading

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Nov 17

Bloomingdale’s Empowerment: MENOPAUSE: THE MUSICAL

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Image courtesy of the Menopause Facebook Page. Apologies to the cast and staff. Photo link was not working properly.

Presented by Spectacle Management
Created by Jeanie Linders
Produced by GFour Productions

The Larcom Theatre
Beverly, MA
November 12th-16th, 2014
Spectacle Management on Facebook
Menopause: the Musical on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) Sometimes, it is impossible to decide the value of a show until you can decide on its politics. Menopause: the Musical, playing at the Larcom Theatre, is giddy and infectious, to be sure, but does its very existence set back women’s rights by a few decades? This is the question the theatergoer must ask as his or her foot starts tapping to the fun on stage. Continue reading

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Nov 14

You Know It’s Love When You Want to Stab* Your Partner but Don’t: THE REAL THING

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Photos by Paul Cantillon, Lidec Photo.

Photos by Paul Cantillon, Lidec Photo.

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
By Tom Stoppard
Directed by A. Nora Long

November 8-23, 2014
Deane Hall
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

*Figuratively

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) The Real Thing reminds us that mature, adult relationships are back breaking, hard work. Henry (Bob Mussett) is a playwright using his real life as fodder for his scripts. He’s having an affair with Annie (Courtland Jones), an actress and activist, for whom they’ve both divorced their spouses. In this play, Henry and Annie grow out of their patterns of selfish, abusive neglect and into a mature partnership. Henry and Annie barely survive with their sanity intact. Continue reading

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Nov 14

Where’s the Scandal? : “Mary Shelley”

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mary-shelley

Presented by Wellesley College Theatre
By Helen Edmundson
Directed by Nora Hussey

Nov. 12 – 16, 2014
Wellesley, MA
Wellesley on Facebook

Review by Nick Bennett-Zendzian

(Wellesley, MA) My hat goes off to any company that is mounting a new or otherwise under-produced script. Helen Edmundson’s Mary Shelley received its première staging in Leeds in 2012, followed by a national tour and a run at the Tricycle Theatre in London. Near as I can tell, it has not been mounted in the United States prior to the production currently running at Wellesley College, and I commend director Nora Hussey for bringing this well-crafted play to us. Continue reading

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Nov 13

Looking at the stars is looking at the past: “Chosen Child”

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http://www.bu.edu/bpt/files/2014/10/2014-10-29-CHOSEN_CHILD_035.jpg

Photograph credit: Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Written by Monica Bauer
Directed by Megan Schy Gleeson

October 30-November 22, 2014
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Boston, MA
BPT on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston) Boston Playwright’s Theatre deftly handles heavy subject matter to thoroughly explore one family’s patterns in Chosen Child.  Cleverly overcoming technical limitations, intertwined histories emerge and recede amidst light and shadow in this production. Continue reading

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Nov 11

Audience Trust Issues: TURTLES

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Photo by Joan Mejia

Photo by Joan Mejia

Presented by Boston Public Works
By John Greiner-Ferris
Directed by Jeffrey Mosser

Oct. 24 – Nov. 8, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
BPW on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Dear crew of Turtles: What the heck was the squeaky noise we heard during the entirety of Act 1? I’m not particularly sensitive to repetitive noises but the sound of metal rubbing on metal kept pulling me out of the play.

Turtles is a play about single-Mom, Bella (Jackie Davis), and her two kids Foos (Lauren Foster) and Finn (Elle Borders). They are squatters living on/in garbage by a billboard advertising the next Rapture. They are surviving when Jesus, who may or may not be the magical zombie-savior of lore (Alexander Castillo-Nunez), falls into their laps. Jesus lacks any sort of social context (this dude could be anybody), gives no explanation for his presence, and has serious boundary issues. Yet, together they decide to move to Boston for its turtle sanctuary. Boston becomes a metaphorical sanctuary for all of them. Continue reading

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Nov 10

Less is Indeed More: LES MISERABLES

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Photo by Paul Lyden

Photo by Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg
Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer
Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo; Original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel; Additional text by James Fenton
Directed and Choreographed by Marc Robin
Music directed by Andrew Bryan

October 28th – November 16th, 2014
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) For a Les Mis hater, I sure have seen the show enough times. I usually go in with a cloud hanging over my head. There is something about the show that rubs me the wrong way with its overwrought attitude, even as it brings me to tears each time I see it. To make matters worse, the play lends itself to overacting; heck, it practically demands it. Bad acting abounds on the street of Paris. Continue reading

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