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

Nov 02

Shakespeare…with Zombies: “Twelfth Night of the Living Dead”

Photo courtesy of Anthem's Facebook page

Photo courtesy of Anthem’s Facebook page

Presented by Anthem Theatre Company
Based on the work by William Shakespeare
Script by Brian MacInnis Smallwood
Directed by Bryn Boice

October 27 – November 5, 2016
Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Anthem on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) I’m going to make a case for why Twelfth Night of the Living Dead, a mashup of Shakespeare and zombie movies, rises above its original source material. And I’m making this case post-Halloween, so I’m not gripped with Salem festival-like fever. Continue reading

Jun 19

“Twelfth Night” and “What You Will”: A Play Two Ways

A.R. Sinclair Photography

A.R. Sinclair Photography

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company & Bedlam
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Eric Tucker

Twelfth Night: June 9-July 10, 2016
What You Will: June10-July 9, 2016
Central Square Theatre
Cambridge, MA
Bedlam on Facebook
Central Square Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) During my senior year of high school, being the drama club geek that I was, I took a Shakespeare class. The professor was insane, but amazing, and the biggest takeaway I got from the class was that Shakespeare really wanted to give the players in a show the right to manipulate and interpret his text as much as possible. Therefore, it seems quite fitting that Bedlam decided to split Twelfth Night, or What You Will into two separate productions of the same exact show using the same five actors to tell the same story with different narratives and tones. Continue reading

Apr 19

Britten’s Opera is a “Dream”

Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) and Bottom (Joseph Hubbard), Photo provided by BU School of Music

Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) and Bottom (Joseph Hubbard), Photo provided by BU School of Music

Presented Boston University College of Fine Arts
Benjamin Britten, composer & Peter Pears, librettist
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
William Lumpkin, conductor
Tara Faircloth, stage director

April 14–17th, 2016
Boston University Theatre
264 Huntington Avenue, Boston
BU Arts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) I enjoy myself most with adaptations of Shakespeare’s comedies when their sense of fun and lightness remain intact. The direction in Boston University Theatre’s production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream didn’t fail me. This vision is every bit the dream of the title. Fairies wear blue wigs and polka dot suits, columns of giant, white flowers are moved across the stage, Puck (Elizabeth Valenti) brings Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) her morning tea, and King Oberon (Wee-Kiat Chia) smugly points out his wife slept with an enchanted donkey-man (Joseph Hubbard) the night before. One scene flows into the next elegantly. For the most part, it’s a perfectly realized vision. Continue reading

Jan 21

Remixed: “Twelfth Night”


Presented by Filter Theatre Company in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Sean Holmes
Music and Songs by Tom Haines and Ross Hughes
Presented at ArtsEmerson

January 20 – 30, 2016
Paramount Center
559 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111
Filter Theatre Company on Facebook
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Let’s start here: this ain’t your mama’s Twelfth Night. 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

Nov 10

Floating Above the Fray: ETHER DOME

Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Elizabeth Egloff
Directed by Michael Wilson

Oct. 17 – Nov. 23rd
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) The biopic or docudrama is a mainstay of the flatscreen and the silver screen, but it doesn’t get nearly as much play on stage. In theory, it should, as these types of stories appeal to those who want to learn something while they are being entertained, and that would seem to include the well-educated who can afford to go to the theatre on a regular basis. But even Shakespeare’s straight-up docudramas, the Henrys and such, don’t do as much business as Romeo and Juliet or Much Ado About Nothing. Continue reading

Nov 04

Halloween Leftovers: CANNIBAL – THE MUSICAL

Photos Courtesy of Erik Fox

Photos Courtesy of Erik Fox. Trappers gotta trap.

Presented by Arts After Hours
Written by Trey Parker of South Park
Directed by Corey Jackson
Music Direction by Mario Cruz
Choreography by Nicole Spirito

October 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 29. 30 31, and November 1st at 8PM.
October 19, 26 at 3PM
LynnArts Rantoul Black Box
25 Exchange Street
Lynn, MA
Arts After Hours on Facebook

Review by

(Lynn, MA) When college academics look back at the body of work of Trey Parker, co-creator of South Park, I can only assume they will look at his early script for Cannibal – The Musical as a sign of his future potential. The script, which was a senior project while Parker was at the University of Colorado – Boulder, reads much like one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays”, with moments of brilliance, some car-crash-worthy attempts at brilliance, and a lot of head-scratching mediocrity. It presents a comedic challenge to any who attempt it. Arts After Hours embraces this challenge with enthusiasm, and hits many of the high-notes of comedy teed up by Parker, but misses a few others. Continue reading

Aug 25

Banish John Falstaff: Henry the 4th

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Presented by Theater@First
A New Adaption of William Shakespeare’s Histories
Directed by Shelley MacAskill

August 21st – 30th
Unity Somerville
6 William Street, Somerville
Theatre@First on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Somerville) Shakespeare’s histories can be problematic to bring to the stage. In these plays, the usual issues of Shakespearean verse and thick language are compounded with cinematic scope, characters sometimes too big to be readily believable, and all kinds of crazy epic battle scenes. Compounding two histories into one doubles the trouble. Henry the 4th is a conflation of the two parts of Henry IV relying mostly upon part 1 with some of the more salient and dramatic moments of part 2 tacked onto the play’s end. Continue reading

Jul 23

Hub Theatre’s Shakespeare Crowd-Pleaser: “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”

Picture

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield
Directed by Lauren Elias

July 18 – August 2, 2014
Club Café
209 Columbus Ave
Boston, MA

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) The working hypothesis for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) appears to be this: when at his most serious, the Bard is the most unintentionally hilarious. It’s darkly comic, in a way, that a pair of lovers would die passionately together despite knowing each other for a few days. And there’s something ridiculous about a prince putting off the assassination of the uncle who stole his crown because he doesn’t believe the ghost of his father. In Hub Theatre Company’s take on the parody, Patrick Curran, Adam Lauver (alternating with Will Moore), and Brooks Reeves seek to both compress and skewer Shakespeare’s body of work. Continue reading