Oct 14

Poetic License: “Einstein’s Dreams”

A.R. Sinclair Photography

A.R. Sinclair Photography

Presented by Underground Railway Theater
Part of the Catalyst Collaborative@MIT
Based on a book by Alan Lightman
Adapted and Directed by Wesley Savick

September 24 – November 15, 2015
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA
Central Square Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) Even as I sit here staring at a blank page, I am having trouble putting into words the experience of seeing Einstein’s Dreams at Central Square Theatre.  What I know for a certainty is that I can extend to the piece the highest comment that this reviewer can give: it sparked discussion, and it made me think. Continue reading

Oct 12

Thank You Capt. Obvious: “appropriate”

Photo by Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots

Photo by Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
Fight choreo by Angie Jepson
 
Sept. 12 – Oct. 11, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook
 
Review by Kitty Drexel
(Boston, MA) It should not take a white person to teach another white person that racism exists. And yet, the case almost always is that white people can’t simply trust the experiences of black people. No, frequently a white person has to verify from other white people that POCs across the color spectrum aren’t lying for attention or handouts. Racism exists. It isn’t going away just because a group of old white men decided they don’t want to fight against it anymore (see the US govt.).

Enter: Jacobs-Jenkins’ appropriate. The Lafayette family has returned to their crumbling Arkansas plantation to hash out Father Lafayette’s hoarding problem, loans, and bigotry. Childhood was hard on them and everyone feels entitled to an apology they aren’t going to get. This entitlement wrapped in bitterness seeped in brittle pain results in violent arguments instead of the reunion they were hoping for. Continue reading

Oct 05

GAMES WITHOUT FRONTIERS: “Billy Elliot – The Musical”

Photo © Paul Lyden

Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by Elton John
Book and Lyrics by Lee Hall
Based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal Film
Direction and Choreography by Adam Pelty
Musical direction by Andrew Bryan

September 29th – October 11th, 2015
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) Leave it to children to show adults just how stupid they can be.

In Billy Elliot – the Musical, a young boy in a northern English town stumbles into a love of ballet in the midst of a coal miner strike in the mid-eighties. It is a good show that can achieve multiple goals during the course of the script, and North Shore Music Theatre stages a good one. Through skillful choreography and playful dance, this production shows how the political struggles of Thatcherism in the UK so closely resembles the nonsensical and almost playful twists and turns of a second-rate children’s ballet show. At the same time, at its core, this play is a simple coming-of-age story of a child growing up different and talented at a time when a community was straining to hold onto a core value of gray sameness. Continue reading

Sep 29

On Rye: “Salomé”

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Welcome to the gun show.

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston
Written by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosio

Sept. 24 – Oct. 18, 2015
First Church Boston
Boston, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) It is fitting that the performances of Salomé coincide with the supermoon lunar eclipse aka Blood Moon. The night’s full moon took a red hue from the shadow cast on it by the Earth. It was a match for the moon image used in the production by Bridge Rep. on Sunday night. As heard through my social network after the performance, both moons were the unhappy source of chicanery on and off the stage. Continue reading

Sep 29

Falsely Upbeat Conclusion Makes “Mr. Joy” Hard to Enjoy

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Photo by Paul Marotta

Presented by ArtsEmerson.
By Daniel Beaty
Directed by David Dower

September 22nd-October 18th, 2015
Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre at the
The Paramount Center
ArtsEmerson on FaceBook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) Black box theater is traditionally a great medium for experimental productions, so when I, along with other audience members of Mr. Joy, was told that the play would speak to us and that we were expected to talk back, I was quite excited—I’m a sucker for audience par-tish. And while my expectations for live audience feedback were never met (don’t anticipate improvised scenes, but rather, a couple moments of audience contribution) what I did manage to enjoy about Mr. Joy was how it addressed current issues in a loud way. Continue reading

Sep 28

For Better or Worse, “The Thing on the Doorstep” is a Shambling Beast

Artwork by Dan DeRosato

Artwork by Dan DeRosato

Presented by Salem Theatre Company
Adapted from the H.P. Lovecraft story
Directed & Adapted by Isaiah Plovnick

September 17 – October 4, 2015
Salem Theatre
90 Lafayette Street
Salem, MA, 01970
Salem Theatre on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Salem, MA) Devoted H.P. Lovecraft fans should prepare themselves for a sojourn to Salem before the end of this week. The Thing on the Doorstep has been lovingly adapted to stage, giving voice to one of the most foundational science fiction writers of the early twentieth century. What’s synthesized from the material is a creeping, gothic narrative, one that fights to stay true to the spirit of the original and hew closely to the author’s voice. The move from page to stage is a fraught one, though, and Lovecraft’s style (retro by the standards of the years he wrote in with a great deal of colonialist issues throughout) is ultimately clunky. Continue reading

Sep 25

Stop Staring At Me Bob Goulet: THE BOYS IN THE BAND

Photo by Joel Benjamin

Photo by Joel Benjamin

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company
By Mart Crowley
Directed by David J. Miller

September 11th – October 3rd, 2015
Plaza Black Box Theater at the
Boston Center for the Arts
Zeitgeist on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAIn performance, sometimes it is more important to get a pivotal work onstage than it is to do it perfectly. Zeitgeist’s production of The Boys in the Band is flawed. Its flaws are less important than bringing this historically game-changing play to the stage for new generations to contemplate. Just as it is more important to treat the LGBTQ+ community with the respect and dignity we deserve than to be polite. Continue reading

Sep 25

Climb Every Mountain: “Earnest Shackleton Loves Me”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Lyrics by Valerie Vigoda
Music by Brendan Milburn
Book by Joe DiPietro
Directed by Lisa Peterson
Musical Direction by Ryan O’Connell
Composers Ryan O’Connell and Brendan Milburn

September 20 – October 4, 2015
Paramount Mainstage
599 Washington Street, Boston
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) At the heart of every impossible task is a glimmer of hope that, if followed, might just make the impossible happen.  As I enter the final stages of writing my dissertation for my PhD, this message simply can’t be repeated loudly or frequently enough.  Lucky me, the kind folks at ArtsEmerson understood exactly what I needed to hear tonight and so brought me (personally) Earnest Shackleton Loves Me to soothe my over-wrought mind and charm my tired adventurer’s heart. Continue reading

Sep 22

If You’re Alive, You’re Afraid: BROKEN GLASS

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Rep Theatre in partnership with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA Boston Chapter).
Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Jim Petosa

Sept. 5 – 27, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) It is no wonder that America didn’t suspect that Adolf Hilter was a major threat to Europe, Germany, or the world. His staff lead a campaign that depicted him as a congenial yet private Everyman with a love of children and the outdoors. This branding made Hitler out to be a decent guy, not the Jew, intellectual, and LGBT hating dictator he was. America didn’t recognize Hitler for the power-hungry villain he was until it was almost too late. Marketing works, people. Raw Story has an excellent, rather brief article up. I highly suggest reading it for theatrical and historical perspective. Continue reading

Sep 19

Expect More From Professionals: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC

© T Charles Erickson Photography

© T Charles Erickson Photography

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Suggested by a film by Ingmar Bergman
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Stage directed by Peter DuBois
Music directed by Jonathan Mastro
Choreographed by Daniel Pelzig

Sept. 11 – Oct. 11, 2015
BU Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) If you haven’t been dead the past few months, then you’ve heard about Patti LuPone snatching a cell phone an unforgivably rude patron during a no doubt exceptional performance of Shows for Days. Her act is being lauded as bravery in the face of a horrendous etiquette breach. I agree. I also believe that theatre patrons should be shushed by managements for conversing during theatre performances. Rolled up newspapers or spray bottles would suit purposes very well. Continue reading