Feb 21

“The Honey Trap” Sweet Like Honey, Sting Like a Bee

Maureen Keiller, Barlow Adamson. Photograph credit: Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre & Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre
Written by Leo McGann
Directed by Adam Kassim

February 16-26, 2017
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre on Facebook
Boston University New Play Initiative

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) According to the old cliché, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. The truth of this is debatable, but it’s true that, when luring something, or someone, to its doom, it’s much simpler to do it in a soft, sweet way. On multiple levels, this was the crux of how Leo McGann’s The Honey Trap told a story of history, guilt, and revenge. Continue reading

Feb 02

Boston Arts Academy’s “The Wiz” Finds a Place to Call Home

Dorothy, portrayed by Kamiya Parkin; Photo credit Ella Snyder

Presented by Boston Arts Academy
Book by William F. Brown
Music and Lyrics by Charlie Smalls
Adapted From “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum
Directed by Maura Tighe
Musical Direction by Tyrone Sutton
Choreography by William McLaughlin

January 26-28, 2017
The Strand Theatre
543 Columbia Road
Dorchester, MA 02125

Review by Travis Manni

(Dorchester, MA) In a world where the future of the arts is unclear, and many would like to be transported from reality for a while, it is refreshing to see the next generation of artists from Boston Arts Academy not only take pride in their art, but convey a powerful message of pride in one’s roots. In BAA’s production of The Wiz, I was blown away at the maturity and emotional depth that a group of young adults still in high school not only understood, but also was able to convey to the audience. 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 24

Playing with Fate in “Intimate Exchanges”

Sarah Elizabeth Bedard and Jade Ziane. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
Written by Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosio

January 12-February 12, 2017
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Central Square Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) There truly is nothing like the unique experience of theatre. And in Alan Ayckbourn’s Intimate Exchanges, the audience is presented with a choose-your-own-adventure in which no performance is ever identical to the one before. Continue reading

Jan 11

Quality Beats Out Content in “Brilliant Adventures”

Michael Underhill as Rob, Sam Terry as Luke. Photo by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company & United Talent Agency
Written by Alistair McDowall
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

December 28, 2016-January 21, 2017
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St.
Chelsea, MA 02150
Apollinaire Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Chelsea, MA) Every theatre geek knows that good theatre should ask questions and initiate a conversation. It should do something as small as make the audience think of something from a different perspective or as large as make you question everything. These were the expectations I had when sitting down to watch Apollinaire Theatre Company’s production of Brilliant Adventures. 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 13

“Faithless”: Waiting Room Family Reunion

Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre & the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre
Written by Andrew Joseph Clarke
Directed by Stephen Pick

December 8-18, 2016
Boston, MA
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre on Facebook
Boston University New Play Initiative

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) The holidays are a good time of year to be surrounded by family. Holidays are also a good time of year to be reminded how much you hate being surrounded by family. Family reunions of any kind can be awkward, but provide the perfect landscape for tension to explode and for secrets to be revealed. And a hospital waiting room is where playwright Andrew Joseph Clarke decided to explore this dynamic in Faithless. Continue reading

Dec 07

“Return of the Winemaker”: I Met God at a BBQ

Photo credit to Aidan Hamell

Photo credit to Aidan Hamell

Presented by Tír Na Productions
By Bernard McMullan
Directed by Carmel O’Reilly

December 1-23, 2016
The Rockwell
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA 02144
Tír Na Productions on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Somerville, MA) I’ve never been to Ireland, or been cultured into any traditional Irish customs, despite the high percentage of ancestry that I maintain. However, by the end of Tír Na’s production of Return of the Winemaker, it was pretty clear that the best kind of Christmas is an Irish one. Continue reading

Dec 06

“The Tempest”: Heaven Hath no Mercy Like a Sorceress Scorned

Kai Tshikosi (Ferdinand), Marya Lowry (Prospero), Lydia Barnett-Mulligan (Miranda), and Samantha Richert (Ariel)

Kai Tshikosi (Ferdinand), Marya Lowry (Prospero), Lydia Barnett-Mulligan (Miranda), and Samantha Richert (Ariel); photo credit to Nile Scott Shots.

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Allyn Burrows

December 1, 2016-January 8, 2017
Willet Hall at United Parish
210 Harvard Avenue
Brookline, MA 02446
Actors’ Shakespeare Project on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Brookline, MA) One of the most exciting things about seeing any production of a Shakespeare show is how vast the possibilities are for interpretation. The fact that I was completely new to the world of The Tempest, which serves as Artistic Director Allyn Burrows’ final show with Actors’ Shakespeare Project, made seeing a production of it that much more thrilling. 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