Jan 31

“The Princess and the Pea”: A Fairytale Political Drama

“Three Plot Twists”: Sarah J. Mann as Prince Percy, James Sims as Mick Motley, Matthew Woods as Captain Brightside; photo credit: imaginary beasts.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Written by The Ensemble
Based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen
Directed by Matthew Woods

January 14 – February 4, 2017
Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
Boston, MA 02116
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) In this uncertain and tumultuous political climate, the arts are a fantastic medium to fight back. While this often applies to theatre, I must admit I was surprised that imaginary beasts’ production of The Princess and the Pea used the kid’s show to make a mockery of our current state of affairs. But it was effing brilliant. Continue reading

Jan 27

Colors, Flavors and Spices: THE ATHEIST

Photo by Kalman Zabarsky, Georgia Lyman as Augustine Early.

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Written and directed by Ronan Noone
Performed by Georgia Lyman

Jan. 19 – Feb. 5, 2017
BPT
949 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA
BPT on Facebook

Trigger warnings: “alternative fact” telling, domestic abuse, discussion of rape, invasion of intimate privacy, crooked politics  

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) It’s as if Ronan Noone timed his production of The Atheist with Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative fact” BS on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Noone’s Atheist captures the distasteful spirit of dirty tactics to make the untrue plausible. Trump’s team is gaslighting its way into our heads. Noone shows us how. Continue reading

Jun 14

The Emperor’s New Pseudoscience: BLINDERS

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Suck it Trump (via Tumblr)

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Korinne T. Ritchey

June 10 – 25, 2016
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook
Chris and Alex 11!!!!11 on Tumblr

Review by Kitty Drexel

I’m not going to make this review about Orlando, FL. That would not help Flat Earth or the 50+ victims of terrorist action. I’ve put info about constructively helping at the bottom of this review. Now go actively spread love and dismantle hate when and where you see it.

(Watertown, MA) The “scientific” discovery of two identical snowflakes has sparked a fad for naturally identical things. Shortly after the snowflake discovery, Chris (Matt Arnold) and Alex (Justus Perry), two exactly alike, human carbon copies are found. They are men who share one experience in two bodies. They are not twins. The US goes bonkers for their celebrity. Their rapid popularity makes Bieber Fever tame in comparison. Try as one might, they are impossible to avoid. They run for President in a campaign too popular to fail. Continue reading

Jan 13

A Love Letter to the General: “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass wit of Molly Ivins”

Photo by Mark S. Howard. MacDonald with Shrub.

Photo by Mark S. Howard. MacDonald with Shrub.

Presented by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston
By Margaret Engel & Allison Engel
Directed by Courtney O’Connor

Jan. 2 – 31, 2015
Boston, MA
Lyric on Facebook
Molly Ivins on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) I’ve already purchased my ticket to see Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass wit of Molly Ivins again. This show is so good that writing a review isn’t enough*. I want the Lyric to have my money. Continue reading

Oct 24

#ArtsMatterDay, Oct 24

Today is ArtsMatterDay!
Discover more at MassCreative
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From the MassCreative website: “Happy Arts Matter Day! Celebrate with us by sharing why arts matter to you. Let’s create a huge buzz to show that arts matter in MA and matter in the November 4 election.”
Please see their site for more information, and ways to celebrate #ArtsMatterDay.

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Jun 17

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

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

Jun 16

Informal Enlightenment: EATING MY GARBAGE

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Written and performed by David Mogolov
Directed by Steve Kleinedler
Music by Ryan Walsh and Evan Sicuranza

June 12th through June 20th, 2014
Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA 02114
Mogolov on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

 

 

(Somerville) In the midst of the blockbuster movie season, it’s quite refreshing to see the captivating power of good storytelling. With his one-person play, Eating My Garbage, David Mogolov owns the stage, despite an absence of blocking, props, and special effects, by letting us get a clear picture of how his unique synapses fire to draw quirky insight into the human condition. Continue reading

Jun 10

Securing the Myth-ing Link: GIDEON’S KNOT

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater
By Johnna Adams
Directed by Karen MacDonald

June 5 – 22, 2014
the Boston Center for the Arts
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings: Graphic depiction of rape and violence, controversial and political arguments, full-body hugging

“Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian Knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter”
(Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 1 Scene 1. 45–47)

(Boston) Alexander the Great is famous for marching through Asia and Africa in the name of Greece when he was 18 years old. He was a merciless conqueror and much of his work shaped the known BCE world. According to popular myth, in 333 BCE Alexander was shown a intricate knot in tying a chariot to a pole left by the sloppy founder of the city of Gordium. It was foretold that only the future ruler of Asia could untie the knot. Alexander, being the sensitive and thoughtful boy he wasn’t, instead hacked through the knot with his sword. Earlier versions of the myth imply Alexander first tries cunning to sort out the mess but eventually uses the pointy end of a sword to solve the riddle. These are the origins of the term “cutting the Gordian Knot.” It has come to mean using creative measures (cheating) in order to solve an convoluted problem. Continue reading

Mar 24

Rock Out with Your Snark Out: BLOODY, BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON

Photo care of Emerson Umbrella Facebook page.

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson
Presented by The Umbrella Mainstage
Written by Alex Timbers
Music & Lyrics by Michael Friedman
Directed by James Tallach
Music Directed by Maria Duaime Robinson
Choreography by Lara Finn
Fight Choreography by Micah Greene

March 21 – April 5
The Umbrella Community Arts Center
Concord, MA
The Umbrella on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclosure: I have worked with both directors James Tallach, Maria Duaime Robinson, and a cast member or two. This review is tempered to reflect this.

(Concord) History favors old, White dudes. Heck, old, White dudes are favored now.  If Green Day had collaborated on an historical punk musical with Bill Clinton, Lindsay Lohan and George Michael, chances are they would have written Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson (let us all say a silent prayer for Clinton’s potential saxophone career). And it would be a huge hit. Fans of American Idiot the musical will appreciate the music of BBAJ. They will also appreciate the snarky treatment of a politician who purported to be the People’s President but, after all is said and done, was only in it for himself. History has repeated itself and punk happens to be the medium for this particular telling. Continue reading

Jan 24

Come for the Puppets, Stay for the Bread: SHATTERER OF WORLDS

The Shatterer of Worlds

scene from The Shatterer of Worlds; photo credit: Mark Dannenhauer

Presented by Bread and Puppet Theatre
Directed by Peter Schumann

January 23 – February 2, 2014
Cyclorama
Boston Center for the Arts
529 Tremont St
Boston, MA
Bread and Puppet on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston) There aren’t many opportunities in your modern New England life to actually be a part of something that has deep, continuous, traditional roots.  I don’t count Civil War Reenacting.[1]  Experiencing Bread and Puppet is an honest-to-goodness moment of oneness with theatre history, even if you don’t quite understand what’s going on in the performance. Continue reading