Dec 08

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

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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

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Dec 05

Kissing Ass and Dropping Names: “The Tale of The Allergist’s Wife”

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Photo credit: Mark S. Howard

Photo credit: Mark S. Howard. Their mortgage must be astronomical!

Presented by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston
By Charles Busch
Directed by Larry Cohen

Nov. 21 – Dec. 20, 2014
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: nontraditional sexy times, liberal politics, poop jokes

(Boston, MA) Just as Busch’s other works, The Tale of The Allergist’s Wife features a diva resplendent in her advancing glamour, highly stylized hilarity, and juxtaposes low brow against high brow comedy. There is an overwhelming amount of name dropping (philosophers, celebrities, book titles, places, historical events) but this is de rigeur for Busch’s work. Allergist’s Wife wastes no time explaining anything but the emotional realities of its characters (which are diverse and complicated). It’s the product one would get if you bleached the crap out of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, tossed in a quartet of rich Manhattan intelligentsia, and sauteed in a heaping spoonful of scatological humor. Allergist’s Wife is a highly enjoyable production if you can settle your stomach and keep up.   Continue reading

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Dec 01

Busy With Important Things; or, Leggings Are Not Pants: THE LITTLE PRINCE

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Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Presented by the New Repertory Theatre
Adapted from the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Book and lyrics by John Scoullar
Music by Rick Cummins
Directed by Ilyse Robbins
Musical Direction by Todd C. Gordon

Nov. 22 – Dec. 21, 2014
Charles Mosesian Theatre
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) The novella The Little Prince is part memoir, part analogy for a grown man’s relationship with his inner child. Scoullar and Cummins adapted Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s most famous work into a parent-friendly children’s science fiction musical. It has the subject matter to entertain kids and the emotional complexity to interest adults. This is a show heavy with metaphor and analogy. Continue reading

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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 20

A Story Worth Telling: “The Old Man and the Old Moon”

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Presented by ArtsEmerson
Created by PigPen Theatre Co.

November 19 – 23, 2014
Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
PigPen Theatre on Facebook

Review by Nick Bennett-Zendzian

(Boston) Theatre is storytelling. Hopefully that’s not a revelation to anyone reading this, but given that theatre covers such a broad spectrum, I find it helpful to remember that no matter what art forms get incorporated into a production, the story is what lies at the heart of every play, musical, opera or what have you. And the young men who make up the ensemble of the NYC-based fringe group PigPen Theatre Company have proven themselves to be masterful storytellers with their contemporary folktale-style production of “The Old Man and the Old Moon,” running until this Sunday at the Paramount Theatre in Downtown Boston. 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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