Jun 15

Don’t Choke on Your Spotted Dick: “Penny Penniworth: A Story of Great Good Fortune”


Presented by Titanic Theatre Company
Written by Chris Weikel
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

June 8 – 25, 2017
Central Square Theater Studio
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Titanic on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MATitanic Theatre Company’s Penny Penniworth: A Story of Great Good Fortune can be described as a summer panto minus the music, but plus a heaping spoonful of innuendo. It’s a swift, good time for adults who love classic literature (so long as they can take a joke), and refreshing summer theatre.    Continue reading

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 10

Wasted on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Photo credit: Lara Woolfson

Presented by Magnificent Bastard Productions
Based on the play by William Shakespeare

Reviewed on January 7, 2017
The Rockwell
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
Magnificent Bastard Productions on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Somerville, MA) There’s nothing quite as dazzling as experiencing theatre, the Shakespearean kind no less, under the hazy glow of stage lights as a soft buzz starts to settle in. While I chose not to partake in the highly encouraged consumption of alcohol, I figured my flu-like-symptoms-inducing hangover was enough of a qualifier to get me in the mood for Magnificent Bastard Productions Shit-faced Shakespeare performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And to top it off, the entire audience had the privilege of playing witness to the company’s first ever sex-swapped show. Continue reading

Dec 01

“A Palpable Hit”: Fight! Fight! Fight!

Photo credit: Timothy John Smith

Photo credit: Timothy John Smith

Presented by The Gunpowder Plot & Cambridge Historical Tours
From the works of William Shakespeare
Directed by Gabriel Kuttner, Daniel Berger-Jones & Sarah Gazdowicz

November 25-December 11, 2016
Durrell Theatre
Cambridge YMCA
820 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge Historical Tours on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) Everybody knows that the events leading up to any action sequence, while often necessary, can feel boring and overlong. Sometimes you just want to skip to the good stuff and watch everybody fight or use their superpowers to kick some serious ass. While Shakespeare often preferred battles with swords, though one could argue his battles of wit are just as exhilarating, what made his scenes of confrontation so mesmerizing was the use of tension, and The Gunpowder Plot’s production of A Palpable Hit: Shakespeare Fight Night sure knew how to tap into this. Continue reading

Jan 19

Somewhere Over, Under, in Front of, Behind the Rainbow: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”

Photo credit: Diane Anton

Photo credit: Diane Anton; the cast stepping out

Presented by imaginary beasts 
Written and Directed by Matthew Woods
Based on the Oz novels of L. Frank Baum

January 9-30, 2016
imaginary beasts on Facebook
BCA Plaza Black Box Black Box Theatre
Boston, MA

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MAPlaying fast and loose with both Oz canon and popular culture, imaginary beasts returns to the marvelous lands and characters L. Frank Baum created to amuse and entertain children at the turn of the century in Winter Panto 2016:  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  People unfamiliar with the pantomime tradition should not come expecting a regular play, or the musical version of the show, or even a rundown of all of Baum’s Oz books.  Rather, it’s a rollicking variety of scenes that parodies both the source and contemporary mores. Continue reading

Oct 14

Hysterics of “Polish Joke” are no Joke

photo credit: Evgenia Eliseeva

photo credit: Evgenia Eliseeva

Presented by Titanic Theatre Company
By David Ives
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

October 8-18, 2015
CST Studio at the Central Square Theatre
Titanic Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) I’ve never been overwhelmed with the desire to make the spontaneous, probably unreasonably rash, decision to move to another country just from watching a play. But I’ll be damned if I wasn’t ready to catch the next red-eye to Poland after witnessing the Titanic Theatre Company’s production of Polish Joke. Continue reading

Aug 28

Genre-Flexible “Winter’s Tale” Becomes a Summer Fantasia in Nathan Tufts Park

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Presented by Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

August 14-30, 2015
Nathan Tufts Park (aka Powderhouse Park) in Somerville, MA
BRING A BLANKET and/or LAWN CHAIRS
Maiden Phoenix on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville, MA) Maiden Phoenix gamely takes on one of the strangest of Shakespeare’s late period work. In the style of King Lear, Leontes (Juliet Bowler) comes to distrust his loved ones to the horror of his court. His queen, Hermione (Cassandra Meyer), is accused of adultery, their son, Mamillius (a hilariously bro-y Caroline Rose Markham), is separated from his mother, and a baby is abandoned on a hillside to be devoured by the wild. Then, suddenly, when a man “exits” the stage pursued by bears, the story transforms. The Winter’s Tale leaves aside its devastating tragedy and the king’s “too hot, too hot” anger in favor of a pastoral comedy. From this point on, the story flows together like a series of dreams. This peculiar shift suits not only more optimistic fare but the theatre group’s choice of setting, a green, fairy tale-like staging in Nathan Tufts Park. Continue reading

Jun 23

Full STE(A)M Ahead: “The Farnsworth Invention”

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

June 12 – 27, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) It would be awesome for the good people at Epic Rap Battles of History to pit Philo Farnsworth against David Sarnoff. According to The Farnsworth Invention, these boys reached Telsa/Edison levels of rivalry. That would make for some great entertainment.

Sorkin’s play is an inaccurate account of the race to invent television. It is told via dual narration between David Sarnoff (Michael Fisher) and Philo Farnsworth (Chris Larson). As each man’s life is explained to the audience, we learn important historical facts about their discovery process as well as personal insights. Sarnoff is a stoic dick with classical tastes and standards. Philo Farnsworth is a happy-go-lucky genius with nervous tendencies. The cast’s ensemble play multiple characters, frequently in the same scene, who directly influence the grand discovery. This production is performed in the round, with minimal props and set pieces, and stark lighting.   Continue reading

Apr 13

Daniil Kharms Continues to Charm in imaginary beasts’ Betty Bam!

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
Directed by Matthew Woods, Joey C. Pelletier, and Michael Underhill
Written by Daniil Kharms
Translation by Zoya Derman
Adapted by The Ensemble

April 10 – May 2, 2015
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) The innovative and evocative imaginary beasts continue with their year-long exploration of Stalinist-era author, Daniil Kharms, with Betty Bam! Their last attack on his material, KNOCK!, was a condensed affair, a multi-character and multi-story primer on Kharms’ bleak humor and deeply unsettling monologues. The actors took pratfalls and grafted the absurdist theater onto a sort of vaudeville act. In Betty Bam!, the visual nods remain in the early-twentieth century, but the aesthetic switches to black and white film, page-boy cuts, and a set styled into a cartoon explosion. The five actresses who depict Betty Bam’s fractured identity (Beth Pearson, Amy Meyer, Molly Kimmerling, Sarah Gazdowicz, and Kiki Samko) are each a live action Betty Boop caught in an explosion of a different sort, one that takes the guise of an interruption into their life: the police, Ivan (Cameron Cronin) and Pytor (William Schuller). As with KNOCK!, the police are an oppressive force, one here to take Betty to an unknown fate. The action of taking her away makes up the entirety of the plot. Continue reading

Mar 10

For the Love of Bisexual Seahorses: BULLY DANCE

Photo by Brett Marks

Presented by Argos Productions
By David Valdes Greenwood
Directed By Sarah Gazdowicz

March 7-22, 2014
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Argos on Facebook

 

Trigger Warning: Gunshots are used in this production. Sexual abuse of minors is discussed albeit not in detail.

 

(Boston) The events of Bully Dance are based on the events of a multiple homicide that culminated in a suicide on public transportation in 2006. This is not a light, fluffy or otherwise hope inspiring production. It must be emphasised that playwright David Valdes Greenwood is not attempting to recreate the tragic events. Rather, he has constructed imaginary scenarios that explore the emotional truths of the victims and the survivors. Like an allegorical morality play, this production examines the effects of horrific violence on the heart and mind of Man. Continue reading