May 11

On Golden Bay: THE OUTGOING TIDE

David Adkins, Ross Bickell, Felicity LaFortune. Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Bruce Graham
Directed by Charles Towers

April 23 – May 17, 2015
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
MRT on Facebook.

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) The decline of old age comes for so many of us, and yet there are few who are prepared to meet it on our own terms. In the powerful drama The Outgoing Tide, one patriarch races against time and his own failing memory to decide his fate in the face of dementia. This production is sure to spur thought-provoking discussions on aging and death, and it largely avoids the feel of a Lifetime Original medical drama of the week. We never lose sight of the individuality of the main character even as what makes him an individual slowly disintegrates. Continue reading

Feb 02

Almost Like Family: THE BEST BROTHERS

Photo by Meghan Moore.

Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Daniel MacIvor
Directed by Charles Towers

January 8 – February 1st, 2015
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) Every time a member of one’s family dies, the remaining members of the family must re-form to create a unit, or split away and cease to be. This is an especially arduous task for two almost estranged brothers in The Best Brothers. They must resolve what they were to each other when the matriarch of the family was alive, and what they are to each other now that she is gone. Continue reading

Dec 08

Delightfully Off-Kilter: “13 Things About Ed Carpolotti”

Photo by Meghan Moore.

Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Book, Music and Lyrics by Barry Kleinbort
Based on a play by Jeffrey Hatcher

November 28 – December 21, 2014
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) It’s one thing to create a play that mimics the feeling of being trapped in a conversation with someone who is batty; it’s another to make such a play entertaining. As the play 13 Things About Ed Carpolotti demonstrates, the difference is all in the storytelling prowess of the off-putting character. Continue reading

Nov 04

Words vs. Action: DUSK RINGS A BELL

Pictured Todd Lawson and D'Arcy Dersham. Photo by Meghan Moore.

Pictured Todd Lawson and D’Arcy Dersham. Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Stephen Belber
Directed by Michael Bloom

Oct. 23 – Nov. 16th, 2014
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

Trigger warning: Contains Adult Language

(Lowell, MA) Which watershed moments in our lives define us, the ones where we rise above our fears or the ones where we give in to our basest nature? That’s the central question of the beautiful and flawed production of Dusk Rings a Bell, playing at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Continue reading

Apr 28

Make ’em Laugh: “The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)”

­­­Michael Faulkner and Dominic Conti of the Reduced Shakespeare Company; Photos by Meghan MooreMichael Faulkner and Dominic Conti of the Reduced Shakespeare Company; Photos by Meghan Moore

Presented by The Reduced Shakespeare Company
Written and Directed by Reed Martin and Astin Tichenor

April 24th – May 18th, 2014
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell MA
The Reduced Shakespeare Company on Facebook
Merrimack Repertory Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Lowell) The Reduced Shakespeare Company have long been proprietors of abridged histories and this touring production of The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) will deliver everything that you expect from the boys at the RSC: a three-man team dishing out biting satire, poignant historical and social commentary, and a dude in a really bad wig. Continue reading

Mar 24

Eavesdropping on a Moment: TALLEY’S FOLLY

Photo by Meghan Moore

Photo by Meghan Moore

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Lanford Wilson
Directed by Kyle Fabel

March 20th – April 13th, 2014
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) Why in the 21st century do we feel compelled to make all our special private moments so public, especially when it comes to marriage proposals? These days, a proposal is not Facebook official unless you enlist your family, Joe Biden, and the Michigan State marching band to take part in a carefully choreographed proposal that you can upload to YouTube. Continue reading

Mar 03

Character-Building: EQUALLY DIVIDED

Photo by Meghan Moore. Pictured: Jill Tanner, Felicity La Fortune, Will Lyman and Anthony Newfield.

Photo by Meghan Moore. Pictured: Jill Tanner, Felicity La Fortune, Will Lyman and Anthony Newfield.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
by Ronald Harwood
Directed by Charles Towers

February 13th – March 9th, 2014
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) Professional baseball player Ichiro Suzuki once got into hot water for saying that when his team is losing year after year he focuses instead on playing for his own individual accomplishments.  To some, it showed selfishness, but to me it showed professionalism. Continue reading

Dec 09

Fading into the Woodwork: STELLA AND LOU

Displaying Stella-and-Lou-dress-rehearal-compressed (1).jpg

Photo by Meghan Moore.

presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Bruce Graham
Directed by Charles Towers

November 29th – December 22nd, 2013
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) Nelson Mandela once said, “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”  Yet many of us cling onto being small all our lives.  Doing a play about that intentional smallness can be tricky without having the play succumb to smallness itself. Continue reading

Nov 04

A Polite Mugging: MRS. MANNERLY

Care of MRT Facebook Page

Care of MRT Facebook Page

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Jeffrey Hatcher
Directed by Mark Shanahan

October 24 – November 17, 2013
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) I didn’t know there had to be rules about flashback nostalgia stories, but I think I’ve found one….if only I can decide which one.

First, let’s define the genre.  Have you ever seen the movie A Christmas Story or The Wonder Years?  Then you know the kind of show MRT’s Mrs. Mannerly is attempting.  It’s the adult narrator looking back on his precocious tween self, with a wistful smile, to share lessons learned. Continue reading

Oct 14

Bad Behavior Porn: GOD OF CARNAGE

Photo by Meghan Moore

Photo by Meghan Moore

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Kyle Fabel

September 19th – Oct. 13, 2013
The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) We are usually mired in the mundane of everyday, and we can’t see movement in our own internal characters. That’s why we tend to want some movement in the characters we see on stage. In a good play, a protagonist cannot be the same in the end as she was in the beginning; she must at least gain some scars from experience. The rare exception is a script that goes for the meditative study of a character, as if peeling back layers of a soul like an onion. To pull this off, the author must have deep sympathy for both the character and the human condition, and it’s a narrower road to tread. Continue reading