Apr 25

Integrity Sells for So Little: CITY OF ANGELS

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Photo by Mark S. Howard

Photo by Mark S. Howard

Presented by Lyric Stage Co. of Boston
Book by Larry Gelbart
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by David Zippel
Vocal arrangements by Cy Coleman and Yaron Gershovsky
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Music direction by Catherine Stornetta
Choreography & musical staging by Rachel Bertone

March 27 – May 2, 2015
Boston, MA
Lyric on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) City of Angels pays homage to film noir with tongue firmly in cheek sexual innuendo and integrated design film tropes. The Lyric Stage Co. of Boston brings life to this beloved musical with panache and two shakes of wit with inspired clever projection design by Jonathan Carr and zippy choreography by Rachel Bertone. This production is great fun. The book and lyrics are clever. The score, vocal and instrumental, is inherently singable. The artistic upsides far outweigh the downsides. An evening spent at COA is one well spent. Continue reading

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Apr 16

Scaping the Serpent’s Tongue: “Shit-Faced Shakespeare”

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Photo care of Magnificent Bastard Productions

Photo care of Magnificent Bastard Productions

Presented by Magnificent Bastard Productions
Produced by Gabriel Kuttner and Daniel Berger-Jones in association with Cambridge Historical Tours

April 15 – May 1, 2015
Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street Somerville
Magnificent Bastards on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Somerville, MA) Everybody’s got that one friend. That friend who goes to a party (…or the bar, or any function where booze is readily available), has a bit too much, turns absolutely hilarious, but then the real conundrum begins: who is going to take care of “that friend”? John did it last time (to great disaster for the interior of John’s car); Sally isn’t much of a caregiver and would probably have “that friend” weeping openly on the floor of the bathroom in about ten minutes flat; and Bob doesn’t care for “that friend”. That just leaves you. Congratulations, you’ve now been saddled with the responsibility of taking care of this adult/child because “that friend” (as usual) couldn’t be bothered to know their own limits (despite the fact that you’ve been out of college for ten years now and shouldn’t “that friend” know better?). Suddenly, what was once a fun and exciting party is a tiresome (and stressful) burden. Continue reading

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Apr 16

“The Big One” Has Big Heart But Feels Under-Done

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11107735_10206307386668624_3810527196770342390_nPresented by Lesley University
Written by Liv Cummins, Sandy McKnight
Directed by Liv Cummins
Music direction by Elena Blyskal

April 9-12, 2015
Lesley University
Marran Theater
34 Mellen Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
The Big One on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

Lesley University’s pop/rock musical is, at best, is benign and rather sweet. A number of struggling Los Angeles songwriters gather in the basement of a dilapidated building at the guidance of Paul (Ryan Bevard) to workshop their music. The goal of each workshop participant is to hit it big with their work, to be featured in a commercial, movie, or by a well-known artist. Meanwhile, California itself prepares for a “big hit” from the end result of a series of earthquakes. There’s a lot of charm to its plot and character arcs, but Liv Cummins and Sandy McKnight’s show doesn’t quite come together. Continue reading

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Apr 14

First Few Rows Will Not Get Wet: THE CLYTEMNESTRIAD

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Photo credit: Fresh Ink Theatre, Jade Guerra tearing it up at Clytemnestra.

Photo credit: Fresh Ink Theatre, Jade Guerra tearing it up as Clytemnestra.

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre
Written by A. Nora Long
Directed by Caitlin Lowans
Dramaturgy by Ramona Ostrowski

April 10 – 18, 2015
The Hale Chapel at First Church
Boston, MA
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warning: Strobe effect

(Boston, MA) Homer’s Iliad tells us that Agamemnon fought bravely at Troy for ten years to reunite Helen and Menelaus. Greek myth tells us that when Agamemnon returned from the Trojan War, his wife Clytemnestra murdered him in the bath. Depending on the myth the particulars of who, why and how differ. What is evident is Clytemnestra’s retention of power and eventual murder at the hands of her children after the fact. A. Nora Long’s The Clytemnestriad follows the events leading up to and after Agamemnon’s death from the perspective of his wife, Clytemnestra. Continue reading

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Apr 13

Daniil Kharms Continues to Charm in imaginary beasts’ Betty Bam!

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Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
Directed by Matthew Woods, Joey C. Pelletier, and Michael Underhill
Written by Daniil Kharms
Translation by Zoya Derman
Adapted by The Ensemble

April 10 – May 2, 2015
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) The innovative and evocative imaginary beasts continue with their year-long exploration of Stalinist-era author, Daniil Kharms, with Betty Bam! Their last attack on his material, KNOCK!, was a condensed affair, a multi-character and multi-story primer on Kharms’ bleak humor and deeply unsettling monologues. The actors took pratfalls and grafted the absurdist theater onto a sort of vaudeville act. In Betty Bam!, the visual nods remain in the early-twentieth century, but the aesthetic switches to black and white film, page-boy cuts, and a set styled into a cartoon explosion. The five actresses who depict Betty Bam’s fractured identity (Beth Pearson, Amy Meyer, Molly Kimmerling, Sarah Gazdowicz, and Kiki Samko) are each a live action Betty Boop caught in an explosion of a different sort, one that takes the guise of an interruption into their life: the police, Ivan (Cameron Cronin) and Pytor (William Schuller). As with KNOCK!, the police are an oppressive force, one here to take Betty to an unknown fate. The action of taking her away makes up the entirety of the plot. Continue reading

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Apr 10

Enjoyably Odd and Oddly Enjoyable: ORLANDO

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Photo credit: Bad Habit Productions

Photo credit: Bad Habit Productions

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
Virgina Woolf’s Orlando
Adapted by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Daniel Morris

April 4-April 19, 2014
Deane Hall at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Identity and discovery are heavily explored in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, a work that spans continents, time, and gender.  Initially written as a joke of a biography for a fellow artist in the early 20th century, this more recent adaptation puts Woolf’s language forward while sacrificing character development.  This complex creation scratches the surface of a meaty, subtle series of discussions even the novel Orlando could not fully deliver. Continue reading

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Apr 03

From the Back of the House to Center Stage: LIFERS

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Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Written by John Shea and Maureen Cornell
Directed by Brett Marks
Produced by Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions

March 20-April 4, 2015
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Boston, MA
Happy Medium and Argos on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions have joined forces to bring to life a piece of Bostonian, working class history in Lifers.  At an enjoyable hour and a half even with a ten minute intermission, this well-edited and lively play is an ode to the people who make your meal at a local diner possible. Continue reading

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Apr 01

You Won’t Sit in Solemn Silence: THE MIKADO

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Photo: Steppenwolf Garage

Photo: Steppenwolf Garage

Presented by The Hypocrites
By Gilbert and Sullivan
Directed and Adapted by Sean Graney

March 31 – April 5, 2015
Club Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
The Hypocrites on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) Hold onto your hats, the Hypocrites are back at the Oberon. The Mikado is alive, vivacious, and everything a modern audience could ask for from Gilbert and Sullivan unplugged. Continue reading

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Mar 31

Push It Real Good: LOOT

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Photo courtesy of Hub Theatre Co of Boston

Photo courtesy of Hub Theatre Co of Boston

Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Joe Orton
Directed by Daniel Bourque
Dialect coaching by Meredith Stypinski
Fight choreography by Johnnie McQuarley

March 27-April 12, 2015
First Church Boston
66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA
Hub on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Playwright Joe Orton was an out gay man at a time when it was not only unfashionable but also highly illegal. Orton died in August 1967. Just one month shy of the passing of Britain’s Sexual Offences Act (amendment), which made acts such as kissing, hand holding, or plain old love between two men legal in the privacy of one’s home (it was still illegal to be homosexual in public. Baby stepping progress is still progress). Orton further pushed the hetero-normative envelope by incorporating his penchant for personal freedom in his writings. Orton’s flagrant disdain for authority and hypocritical social ethics are on proud display in Hub Theatre Co’s production of Loot. Orton’s script is not successful as art but it’s message rings profoundly clear: convention can go hang itself. Continue reading

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Mar 30

Two out of Three Ain’t Bad: “The Complete History of America (abridged)”

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Photo courtesy of Jon Niketh

Photo courtesy of Jon Niketh

Presented by Arts After Hours
Book by Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor
Directed by James Tallach

March 27 – April 4
Rantoul Blackbox Theatre in LynnArts
25 Exchange Street, Lynn MA
Arts After Hours on Facebook

Review by Daniel Rosvally

(Lynn, MA) Listen, I know why the “Complete Works [abrgd]” series appeals to small theatres. With their cast of three can-be-anybody no-need-to-gender-or-type-bend parts; quirky, witty, wordy, and smart humor; fast-paced whirlwind nature; and high-demand for low-budge props and costumes, they’re pretty low-maintenance shows from a production standpoint. The Complete History of America (abridged) follows in the steps of its forefathers as steadfastly as drinking Sam Adams. The crew at Lynn After Hours has done a decent job in presenting something chuckle-worthy, but I will say that patrons who enjoyed a glass of wine before the show laughed much more frequently and with more vivaciousness than those of us who were stone sober. Continue reading

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