Jul 29

Still Enjoyable At the End of the Day: LES MISERABLES

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Presented by The Company Theatre Center for the Arts
based on the novel by Victor Hugo
Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg
Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer
Original French text by Alain Boubil and Jean-Marc Natel
Additional material by James Fenton
Orchestrations by James Cameron
Directed by Zoe Bradford and Jordie Saucerman
Staging and choreography by Sally Ashton Forrest
Music direction by Michael V. Joseph

July 24 – August 17, 2014
30 Accord Park Dr.
Norwell, MA 02061
Company Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Norwell, MA) Les Mis is an overwhelming show; its complications can make preparation for performance seem insurmountable. Yet, it is beloved to its devoted fans who care more that its being performed and less about the intricacies of the performance. Such people will highly enjoy the Company Theatre’s production running through August 17. Theatre geeks, such as me, may still enjoy themselves but will likely get hung up on artistic details. Continue reading

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Jul 25

Beware the Uffish Jabberwock: FORTUNE’S FAVORED

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Courtesy of Paul Cantillon, LIDEC Photo

Courtesy of Paul Cantillon, LIDEC Photo. Stitch is my favorite.

Presented by Vagabond Theatre Group
By Lesley Anne Moreau
Directed by Zach Winston

July 11 – 26, 2014
The Factory Theater
Boston, MA
Vagabond on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Fortune’s Favored almost works as theatre. It is so close to being a very well-written, sensitively acted play that it is devastating that it doesn’t achieve the success it’s capable of. The premise is quite clever, the small cast is capable and Zach Winston’s direction is sympathetic to the actors needs but the combination of the elements is mismatched. They are crafted pieces from three different puzzles. They don’t fit.

Eudora Redden (Annie Hochheiser) is running the Redden Arcade in Big Ugly, West Virginia for her drunk father. It’s been the family business for three generations. Her cousin Luann O’Hare (Lauren Robinson) has recently crawled home with her tail between her legs from Washington, DC after getting involved with a political scandal. They both meet Davis Milford (Conor Walsh) when he expresses interest in purchasing the business centerpiece, the fortune teller game, and in getting to know Eudora better. Things go south when business and family tangle over the potential sale. Mikey DiLoreto is the recorded voice of John Barrymore. Continue reading

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Jul 24

Change takes one step at a time, one person at a time: “The Walk Across America for Mother Earth”

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Photo credit: Julie Fox

Presented by Circuit Theatre Co
Written by Taylor Mac
Directed by Christopher Annas-Lee
Music by Ellen Maddow

July 9-July 27
Club Oberon
2 Arrow St
Cambridge, MA
Circuit Theatre on Facebook

Review by Noe Kamelamela

(Cambridge) If you’ve never been part of a political action, this show will be eye-opening and uncomfortable. Its both of those things in many other ways, and I recommend leaving the little ones at home due to violence, sexuality, sexual violence and nudity. Taylor Mac’s ode to the political march and the people who do them gets a spirited revival at Club Oberon. Continue reading

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Jul 23

Hub Theatre’s Shakespeare Crowd-Pleaser: “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”

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Picture

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield
Directed by Lauren Elias

July 18 – August 2, 2014
Club Café
209 Columbus Ave
Boston, MA

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) The working hypothesis for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) appears to be this: when at his most serious, the Bard is the most unintentionally hilarious. It’s darkly comic, in a way, that a pair of lovers would die passionately together despite knowing each other for a few days. And there’s something ridiculous about a prince putting off the assassination of the uncle who stole his crown because he doesn’t believe the ghost of his father. In Hub Theatre Company’s take on the parody, Patrick Curran, Adam Lauver (alternating with Will Moore), and Brooks Reeves seek to both compress and skewer Shakespeare’s body of work. Continue reading

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Jul 23

Hops Along at a Hip Clip: “Welcome To Arroyo’s”

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Photo from Circuit Theatre website. Look at all these POCs!

Presented by Circuit Theatre Company
By Kristoffer Diaz
Directed by Jen Diamond

July 9-July 27
Club Oberon
2 Arrow St
Cambridge, MA
Circuit Theatre on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge) Performed in repertory with The Walk Across Mother Earth, Taylor Mac’s ode to the political march, Kristoffer Diaz’s coming of age tale features a brother and sister from Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  The Circuit Theatre Company hands in a breezy summer confection, heavy on fun and low on substance. Continue reading

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Jul 15

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

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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

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Jul 15

A Sinking Feeling: DISNEY’S A LITTLE MERMAID

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Adrienne Eller as Ariel in North Shore Music Theatre's Production of Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID running July 8 - 27, 2014. Photo©Paul Lyden

Adrienne Eller as Ariel in North Shore Music Theatre’s Production of Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID running July 8 – 27, 2014. Photo©Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Book by Doug Wright
Based on the Hans Christian Andersen Story and the Disney Film produced by Howard Ashman & John Musker and written & directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
Direction by Michael Heitzman
Music directed by Bruce Barnes
Choreography by AC Ciulla

July 8th – July 27th, 2014
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) Whenever you are suspending disbelief, there are rules that must be followed to create a new reality. It doesn’t matter if you are writing Game of Thrones or playing make-believe with a 2-year-old, the ground rules, once established, have to be enforced or the whole thing falls apart.

That is perhaps the main reason why the musical version of Disney’s A Little Mermaid, playing at the North Shore Music Theatre, couldn’t hook either me or for my 8-year-old daughter. This show is largely aquatic, but director Michael Heitzman fails to create a sea for our imagination. Sometimes, the merpeople and fish hobble awkwardly in tight fin-like gear; other times, they use the same wires and pulleys to occupy the same air as the seagull. Merpeople aren’t allowed on land, until they are at the end of the play. Too often, they crossed the streams. Continue reading

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Jun 30

Revamped *Cough* Vampire Comedy for Modernity: DER VAMPYR

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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

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Jun 23

He Who Watches the Watchers: PATTERN OF LIFE

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Nael Nacer as Rahmat Lewis D. Wheeler as Carlo; Photo: Courtesy of New Repertory Theatre.

Handsome devils: Nael Nacer as Rahmat, Lewis D. Wheeler as Carlo; Photo courtesy of New Rep/BCAP Facebook page.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre and Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP)
By Walt McGough
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

June 14 – 29, 2014
Boston University Theatre – Lane-Comley Studio 210
264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
New Rep on Facebook
BCAP on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) President Obama has received flak from all political sides for his decision to back govt.-sourced  drone proposals. It has been 5 years and 5 months since the CIA conducted the first strike during Obama’s term and he shortly thereafter ramped up the attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He went so far as to say that “he wrestle[s] with civilian casualties. But, he said, he has a solemn duty and responsibility to keep the American people safe. That’s my most important obligation as President and Commander-in-Chief. And there are individuals and groups out there that are intent on killing Americans — killing American civilians, killing American children, blowing up American planes.” (Huffington Post) While drone attacks have decreased once his numbers started suffering, attacks have not stopped entirely. Clearly, Obama “wrestles” with casualties enough to make a statement but not enough to discontinue drone use. Continue reading

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Jun 17

The Future is the Present and It’s Dystopian: READER

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Photo found on the Flat Earth Facebook page.

Photo found on the Flat Earth Facebook page.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Ariel Dorfman
Directed by Jake Scaltreto

June 13 – 21, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Trigger Warning: Some light cursing, conservative politics, implied torture

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) If dystopian science fiction is any indication, our future is bleak. In the future, rich people are very rich and the poor are very poor. The politicians are corrupted,  we have no global resources, and the ecosystem has gone to pot. The good news is that there is always an hero to save us… eventually. The future sounds a lot like the present.

Not unlike Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film Brazil, Dorfman’s Reader is a story within a story set in a future where all potentially unpleasant emotional elements of life have been stripped away. Violence and sexiness are routinely scrubbed from all media sources. The government occupies all spaces. There is no true freedom of expression. Daniel (the handsome Robin Gabrielli) is a suave yet dirty government censor who discovers that the most recent novel to cross his desk parallels his own life. In this novel, Daniel is Don Alfonso an unscrupulous censor working on film scripts. He is rightly paranoid and begins a short-lived journey towards redemption. Continue reading

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