Dec 04

I Missed “The Wiz” for This: THE SNOW QUEEN

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures.

L-R: Nick Sulfaro as Kai, Aimee Doherty as the Snow Queen, and Victoria Britt as Gerda. Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Book by Kirsten Brandt and Rick Lombardo
Music by Haddon Kime
Lyrics by Kirsten Brandt, Rick Lombardo, and Haddon Kime
Additional music, stage direction and choreography by Rick Lombardo
Associate choreographer: Kelli Edwards
Musical direction by Emily Intersimone

Nov. 28 – Dec. 20, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) We critics want to write positive reviews. For the most part (I can’t speak for everyone), we enter a performance space sincerely hoping that the performance that follows will blow us out of the water with its exceptional talent, creativity, ingenuity and expression of the human condition. We want everyone to do well. Writing a negative review is a draining experience for a critic. The truth can be a bitter pill to swallow. Continue reading

Dec 01

“The Little Mermaid” Makes a Little Splash

Courtesy Fiddlehead Theatre Company/©Eric Antoniou

Courtesy Fiddlehead Theatre Company/©Eric Antoniou

Presented by Fiddlehead Theatre Company at The Strand Theatre
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Book by Doug Wright
Musical Direction by Charles Peltz

November 27-December 6, 2015
Dorchester, MA
Fiddlehead Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Dorchester, MA) Disney musicals are the foundation of almost all happy childhoods, so I was excited to see an extended version of the undersea fantasy that entranced my youthful eyes and ears. But the problem with Disney’s staged version of The Little Mermaid, the same part that left me slightly disappointed after seeing the show, is that it expands on something that is already so perfect in a way that feels forced and unnecessary. Continue reading

Nov 30

Uncompromised Cuteness: BAREFOOT IN THE PARK

Tom Shoemaker (Paul Bratter) and Marisa Gold (Corie Bratter); Photograph – Earl Christie Photography

Tom Shoemaker (Paul Bratter) and Marisa Gold (Corie Bratter); Photograph – Earl Christie Photography

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Written by Neil Simon
Directed by Allison Olivia Choat
Original music composed by Dan Rodriguez

Nov. 20 – Dec. 12, 2015
Plaza Theater
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Moonbox on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Ticket sales benefit Summer Search. Please visit their site and learn more.

(Boston, MA) At first blush, Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park appears to be a fluffy romcom with about as much depth as the Frog Pond during a late-August drought. Upon closer inspection, it could be perceived as a satire addressing the impossible expectations placed on 1960’s newly-wed couples. I know it’s a stretch. Bear with me for a second. Continue reading

Nov 23

Weiner, Pirate and Bust: “A Confederacy of Dunces”

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Written by Jeffrey Hatcher
Based on the novel by John Kennedy Toole
Directed by David Esbjornson
Original music by Mark Bennett
Music direction by Wayne Barker

Nov. 11 – Dec. 20, 2015
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) I did not enjoy A Confederacy of Dunces. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good theatre. Let’s discuss. Continue reading

Nov 18

Women Are Kept Powerless on Purpose: “The Love of the Nightingale”

Photo by Tim Gurczak

Photo by Tim Gurczak

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Written by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw
Choreography by Tyler Catanella
Music direction and sound design by Bahar Royaee
Fight choreography by Rebecca Miller

Nov. 6 – 21, 2015
First Church Boston
66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA 02116
Hub Theatre on Facebook

Disclaimer: Mrs. Drexel did audition for this production and was not cast. She firmly believes that only a selfish ass would allow such a thing to taint her review.

Trigger warning: Gore, rape, feminist thought

Review by Kitty Drexel

“How do women still go out with guys, when you consider the fact that there is no greater threat to women than men? We’re the number one threat! To women! Globally and historically, we’re the number one cause of injury and mayhem to women. We’re the worst thing that ever happens to them!” – Louis C.K.

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” attributed to Margaret Atwood

(Boston, MA) The Love of the Nightingale is a Greek myth/morality tale that tells of the dangers of forcing women to be responsible for the sexualities of men. This self-aware play reduces gods and goddesses to the fears and urges of Man: if a dude behaves reprehensibly, it obviously must be the will of the gods. In the reality created by Wertenbaker, self-control and restraint are not wished by higher powers. Rape, victim blaming, unnecessary violence, and other terrible behaviors are. Gross. Continue reading

Nov 16

A Crack in the Blue Wall” Enough to Make a Dent?

Photo credit: James Pierre

Photo credit: James Pierre

Presented by Hibernian Hall
Directed & Written by Jacqui Parker

November 6 -21, 2015
Hibernian Hall on Facebook
Black Lives Matter

Review by Travis Manni

(Roxbury, MA) The timeliness of Jacqui Parker’s play is not reflective of her knowledge of current events, but rather a sheer necessity in direct response to the fact that we still do not live in a post-racial society. A Crack in the Blue Wall pays tribute to the families of black youth who are being killed because, as poet Claudia Rankine explains in Citizen, white men can’t police their imagination. What surprised me most about the perspective of Parker’s show is the respect she showed for both the families of the deceased as well as the police force, which is too often blanketed as entirely corrupt. Continue reading

Nov 16

Black Nuns are Supposed to be Funny: “SISTER ACT”

Photos©Paul Lyden

Photos©Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Glenn Slater
Book by Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner
Additional Book Material by Douglas Carter Beane
Based on the Touchstone Pictures Motion Picture Sister Act written by Joseph Howard
Direction and Choreography by Kevin P. Hill
Music direction by Andrew Bryan (with an assist by Adrian Ries)

November 3 – 15, 2015
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) What do you do with a musical version of a 90’s comedy that doesn’t age particularly well? You try and set it in the 70’s and hope for the best. The North Shore Music Theatre cast of Sister Act is winsome at times, but not crisp enough to transcend the problematic source material. Continue reading

Nov 16

Chronically Single: A Man’s Honest Attempt to Explain Singlehood

Photo of Randy Ross, writer and solo performer of "The Chronic Single's Handbook." Here, he offers one theory on why he is still single. Photo taken at the Capitol Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photo credit: Paul Gillis Photography. (low-res)

Photo of Randy Ross, photo taken at the Capitol Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photo credit: Paul Gillis Photography. (low-res)

Presented by OutPost 186
Written and Directed by Randy Ross

November 13, 15, 17, 21-22, 2015
OutPost 186 on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) During a conversation I had with a friend recently, it was decided that us twentysomethings are in two categories: the kind that enjoys hooking up with no strings attached, and the kind that is self-aware of the fact that they are not ready to be in any kind of a relationship. So it was quite surprising for me to see that the same could be somewhat true for older singles in The Chronic Single’s Handbook. Continue reading

Nov 15

Dreaming the Dream: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Presented by the Isango Ensemble
Adapted and Directed by Mark Dornford-May
Music Arrangement by Mandisi Dyantyis
Music Directored by Pauline Malefane and Mandisi Dyantyis
Choreography by Lungelo Ngamlana

Presented at ArtsEmerson
November 10 – 22, 2015
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont street, Boston
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Isango Ensemble on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) I don’t know about you, but A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of those shows that I’ve seen so often it’s nearly lost all meaning. It might be a professional hazard: as a Shakespearean dramaturge/actor/fight director/scholar, Midsummer pops onto my project radar so frequently in so many different settings: it’s a favorite of high school drama clubs, regional Shakespeare theatres, and any company looking to do “Shakespeare with a twist”. Midsummer lends itself well to many different interpretations, and has enough zany, wacky antics to support a multitude of artistic styles and choices. Continue reading

Nov 12

Too close but still comfortable: “Six Degrees of Separation”

Credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidecphoto.com.

Credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidecphoto.com.

Produced by Bad Habit Productions
Written by John Guare
Directed by Liz Fenstermaker

November 7-22, 2015
Deane Hall at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

http://badhabitproductions.org/shows/season-9/mainstage/six-degrees-of-separation/

(Boston, MA) Six Degrees of Separation was a celebrated play when it first hit New York stages, portraying stereotypes of the city, moneyed New Yorkers and people who aspire to be moneyed New Yorkers. This production elevates the writing to present a mix that is more than the Law & Order rerun it would like to be. Continue reading