Dec 15

No, Thank YOU Susan: NECCESARY MONSTERS

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Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
By John Kuntz
Directed by David R. Gammons
Dramaturgy by Walt McGough

Dec.5, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Strobe lighting, smoking, unsexy sex, murder, drugs, wiring from an electrical engineer’s worst nightmare

(Boston, MA) The proverb goes, “some people are only alive because it is illegal to kill them*.” The majority of the people who advertise that they apply this statement to their life philosophies are frequently ignorant, bigoted and deeply stupid. One just doesn’t say such things (lest your friends and loved ones think you’re one of them. No one wants to be considered one of them). That doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t agree. On the contrary, we frequently do but refuse to publicly admit it because our Mommies taught us better than that. We only admit we agree with this proverb in the quiet of the night, privately and alone. But it’s true isn’t it? There are certain people that we believe are bad and therefore must be stopped. Sometimes it’s a terrible man like Hitler, and sometimes it’s Celia in 24B across the hall with her 4 incessantly yapping corgis, 2am vacuuming, and magazine stealing habits. Sometimes Celia, and what she represents, must die. It’s thoughts like these that fuel Necessary Monsters. Continue reading

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Sep 16

All Cucumbers and Hooves: UNDER MILK WOOD

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Photo courtesy of Artsboston; a picture of the cast at the reading with Mr. Scanlan in the front.

Photo courtesy of Artsboston; photo was grabbed from the Poet’s Theatre FB page.  A picture of the cast at the reading with Mr. Scanlan in the front.

A celebration in honor of the revival of The Poet’s Theatre and the centennial of the Author’s birth.

Presented by The Poet’s Theatre
By Dylan Thomas
Directed by Bob Scanlan

Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall
Harvard University
Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 @ 7pm ONLY
Poet’s Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“…the idea that I write a piece, a play, an impression for voices, an entertainment out of the town I live in, and to write it simply and warmly and comically, with lots of movement and varieties of moods, so that, at many levels, through sight and speech, description and dialogue, evocation and parody, you come to know the town as an inhabitant of it.”
– Dylan Thomas – Collected Letters edited by Paul Ferris (London: Dent, 2000 (new edition)

(Cambridge, MA) Under Milk Wood is a radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. It was performed on the stage during Thomas’ lifetime (and by Thomas himself). It became a movie directed by Andrew Sinclair, and featured Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O’Toole, in 1972. For his centennial, the BBC has a site devoted to a recent film production of Under Milk Wood. All of this is mentioned because not nearly enough Americans have an appreciation for Thomas’ work –  aside from his famous poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” His work is elegant, romantic, and, best yet, free to read on the internet or in a library. It is a worthwhile, mind-expanding endeavor to read as much of his collected works. If not for your own sake, then to woo a paramour or two. Continue reading

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Sep 20

A Roar as Fierce as its Bite: THE JUNGLE BOOK

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André de Shields (King Louie) and Akash Chopra (Mowgli); Photo: Liz Lauren

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
Produced in association with Goodman Theatre
Based on the Disney movie of the same name and the stories of Rudyard Kipling
Book and direction by Mary Zimmerman
Music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Terry Gilkyson, Lorraine Feather, Paul Grabowski

September 7 – October 20, 2013
Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre Co on Facebook

Run time: 2 hours and fifteen minutes with one intermission
Recommended: For adults and families with children ages 6+, but if your child is able to sit quietly through a film in a movie theatre, they will be able to enjoy this production.

Review by Kitty Drexel

***Edited because my typos were showing***

(Boston) The Huntington is known for good theatre that takes few risks. While deserving of the awards that they receive, the Huntington’s programming errs on the institutional. The shows are reliable. To any other Boston-area theatre, reliability would mean death.The Jungle Book is such a strong departure from the usual Huntington fare that their decision to host the Boston leg of the musical tour might be construed as a risk. It is not. The Jungle Book would charm the fur off of the back of the grumpiest of theatre cats.

This production is electric; a guaranteed win for the theatre: the costumes are vivid, the actors are extraordinary, and the set is sumptuous, the backing by Disney certainly doesn’t hurt. If you see anything presented by The Huntington this season; see this show. Bring your children and your parents. Bring everyone. This show should not be missed! Continue reading

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Mar 04

Clybourne Park: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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Michael Kaye, Thomas Derrah, Marvelyn McFarlane, DeLance Minefee, Paula Plum, and Tim Spears in a scene from SpeakEasy Stage’s production of Clybourne Park, running March 1-30 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Tickets/info at speakeasystage.com or 617.933.8600. Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

By Bruce Norris

Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company

March 1 – March 30

Nancy & Edward Roberts Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts Boston, MA

Speakeasy Stage Co Facebook Page

Review by Becca Kidwell

A strong script elevates a performance or points out the flaws of the company.  Speakeasy Stage’s production of Clybourne Park demonstrates its mastery through a strong ensemble, innovative set, and smart direction.  After seeing Clybourne Park, there is no question why this clever, dark play won at the Tony Awards in 2012.  When Boston sees Speakeasy Stage’s production, they will be talking about it for the rest of 2013 (Norton and IRNE awards in its future?).  The ensemble, comprised of Paula Plum, Thomas Derrah, Marvelyn McFarlane, Tim Spears, DeLance Minefee, Michael Kaye, and Philana Mia, pulls the audience into a dynamic confrontation between politics and politeness that never apologizes Continue reading

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Oct 18

“Alice in Wonderland” but on More Meth: “The Lily’s Revenge”

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Photo credit: www.GretjenHelene.com; Lily and the Mary’s shaking what their mother, Time, gave them.

Written and Conceived by Taylor Mac
Composed by Rachelle Garniez

presented by American Repertory Theatre
OBERON
2 Arrow Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
October 12, 2012 to October 28, 2012

A.R.T. Facebook Page

The Lily’s Revenge is the epic nursery rhyme turned homo-rific, drag-tastic fairy tale of Lily, an ordinary houseplant, who undertakes to be more than what others make him to be. His is a delicious allegory/metaphor/cautionary tale/simile/hyperbole/paradox that spans 4+ hours of dance, drama and breakage of the 4th wall that warns never to settle for less than what you want. Even if that means shedding the skin of who you think you are to become who you are truly meant to be. Continue reading

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Mar 22

‘Ma Rainey’ Sings the Music of the Soul

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Yvette Freeman and Corey Allen in August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM. March 9 – April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson, Huntington Theatre Company, 3/9/12-4/8/12, http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/production.aspx?id=10262&src=t.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) Music breathes and pulses as each note is played.  The blues provide a voice for the inexpressible feelings of the human experience.  The blues celebrate the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of life in its entirety; it is neither surprising that the blues came out of the African American spiritual tradition, nor that soul, r&b, and hip-hop were derived from the blues and at the core of the best is the heart and soul of the artist.  What happens when that soul is taken away?  Can the heart survive?

This question permeates the existence of each of the characters in August Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black BottomContinue reading

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Jan 08

Riveting Art: RED

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Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo — with Thomas Derrah and Karl Baker Olson.

Red by John Logan,  Speakeasy Stage, Virginia Wimberly Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 1/6/12-2/4/14, http://www.speakeasystage.com/doc.php?section=showpage&page=red.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) It’s one thing to pull off an entertaining melodrama, it’s quite another to stage a debate on art and make it captivating.  While the play Red may be too intellectual to be everyone’s cup of tea, it is engrossing, especially in this strong production staged by SpeakEasy.

The two-person play centers on renowned 20th century visual artist Mark Rothko (Thomas Derrah) and his first attempt to create a series of murals for the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City.  Continue reading

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Jan 21

‘Full’ of Inspiration

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R. Buckminster Fuller:  The History (and Mystery) of the Universe by DW Jacobs,  American Repertory Theater, 1/14/11-2/5/11. http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/r-buckminster-fuller-history-and-mystery-universe.

R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE. Performed by Thomas Derrah. Photo: Marcus Stern.

Warning: contains profound thoughts

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

When someone asks me what subjects I liked when I was in school, I always say “all except science, I HATE science.”  What I have learned over the past few years is that I have hated science because no one made it interesting for me.  R. Buckminster Fuller:  The History (and Mystery) of the Universe reminds me again that love of science and love of learning start with a person who engages, challenges, and pushes you to see the world in new ways.

The one-man show connects theories of science, philosophy, sociology, and sustainability to life.  Fuller comes to life in such a way that the audience feels that they are at a “real” lecture.  Thomas Derrah presents the same frenetic and contagious energy that was Bucky Fuller’s trademark.  He bounces and dances around as he explains his principles for improving “spaceship earth” and also questioning all of the norms that surround us.  Like Bucky, he uses any and all forms of media that are available to him to get his point across. Continue reading

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