Oct 14

“Shit-Faced Shakespeare” Two: Return of the PBR

Photo: Studio Nouveau

Photo: Studio Nouveau

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

Now through Dec. 30, 2015
Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street Somerville
Magnificent Bastards on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Somerville, MA) After thoroughly enjoying Magnificent Bastard’s original UK cast in what was supposedly a limited Boston run (you can read my review of that show here), I eagerly awaited my chance to see the brand new addition to the Shit-Faced Shakespeare family.  You see, after the original UK ensemble hopped back across the pond, a Boston group took up the torch for Shit-faced Shakespeare, and has been carrying the Midsummer Night’s Dream banner ever since.  Recently, they announced two exciting additions to the company: a new space (Midsummer has moved to Laugh Boston), and a new play: Much Ado About Nothing. Continue reading

Aug 28

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

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
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

Aug 04

Come for the Shakespeare, Stay for the Ice Cream: KING LEAR

Photos by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Photos by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Steven Maler

July 22 – August 9, 2015
FREE and Open to the Public
Parkman Bandstand
Boston Common
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company on Facebook

ASL-Interpreted Performances: Friday, July 31 @ 8pm and Sunday, August 2 @ 7pm
Audio Described Performance: July 30 @ 8pm (Rain date: August 9 at 7pm)

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Before I even get into nitty gritties, let me take a moment to marvel at the fact that Commonwealth Shakespeare Company has brought free Shakespeare to the masses for almost two decades now.  Nothing really says “summer” like Shakespeare al fresco, and Shakespeare on the Common is the way the arts should be: available, relatable, and welcoming.  I was particularly excited this year to witness (for my first time) CSC’s ASL interpreted performance; and those interpreters were working just as hard as (if not harder than) the performers onstage.  Shakespeare on the Common feels like a community coming together to support arts that include them; and that touches even my grinchy critic’s heart more than I can say. Continue reading

Oct 27


Presented by The Boston Theater Company
By William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by Joey Frangieh

October 17 – November 2, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Calderwood Pavilion
527 Tremont street, Boston
Boston Center for the Arts on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Let’s get this part out there first: Much Ado About Nothing is a delightful show with tremendous performers who put their heart and soul into this production. The standout performance for me was Jeff Church’s Benedick. Church’s quirkiness and boundless energy couldn’t help but remind me of David Tenant as The Doctor. Give him a bowtie and a TARDIS, and he’ll be happy to take you on all of your time travel adventures (and you’d gladly go because of his brains, charm, and devilish good looks). It’s entertaining and fresh, and you should all go see it as it stretches into its final weekend at the BCA. Continue reading

Sep 29

Full of Cozenage: COMEDY OF ERRORS

Photo courtesy Stratton McCrady Photography

Photo courtesy Stratton McCrady Photography

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Directed by David R. Gammons

September 24 – October 19, 2014
Brighton High School
26 Warren St. Brighton, MA
The Actors’ Shakespeare Project on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Brighton, MA) Life is a circus, my friends, and if that’s clear anywhere it’s clear in ASP’s Comedy of Errors. David R. Gammons gives us a Comedy within the frame of a has-been circus. As you walk into the theatre, you find the stage already teeming with life: a cast of rag-tag and second-rate clowns struggles to prepare for their show. I, for one, was curious as to why one of the only professional Shakespeare companies in Boston was performing in a High School auditorium. At least, until I walked into the high school auditorium. The space perfectly suits Gammons’ concept as it looks like the ruins of a once-grand theatre. Stripped to its studs, there is no veneer of illusion in Comedy; just bare-bones performance. Continue reading

Aug 29

Thunder, Lightening, and Rain: MACBETH

Credit: Brown Box Theatre Project

Credit: Brown Box Theatre Project

A play by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kyle Taustin
Presented by Brown Box Theatre Project

August 22 – 31, 2014
Various outdoor venues around Boston

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Around Boston) Look, you just can’t beat free outdoor Shakespeare. A picnic basket, a good friend or two, and the immortal words of the sweet swan of Avon resounding amidst mother nature’s glory is just where it’s at, folks. It’s particularly poetic to see Macbeth, a play about the slow descent into the darker parts of man, performed under deepening darkness. Continue reading

Aug 04

Theatre@First Presents Shakespeare’s “Henry the IV”


Presented by Theatre@First
by William Shakespeare
directed by Shelley MacAskill

After seizing the throne, King Henry IV rebuilds his kingdom and despairs over his heir’s dissipated life in the London slums. Prince Hal spends his time carousing with the bawdy Joan Falstaff and her gang of thieves and misfits, but he is far more than the scoundrel he seems. When the king’s former allies rebel against him, Hal plans to redeem himself in his father’s eyes. Facing the rebel leader, Hotspur – England’s greatest and noblest warrior – Hal has a chance to prove his worth, but will redemption bring more pain than Hal could imagine?

Theatre@First’s Henry the 4th combines two of Shakespeare’s greatest history plays in one thrilling night of theatre!

Director: Shelley MacAskill has been involved in thirteen productions with Theatre@First, including directing Harriet IV – a gender-swapped one-act version of Henry IV – for Festival@First 7: Shaken Up Shakespeare. She has also produced two plays (The Lady’s Not for Burning and Bent), been Technical Director for another (Equus), and been stage manager, rehearsal assistant, and light board operator for more than she can readily recall. This is her first time directing a full-length play.

​​8pm evening shows:
Thursday, August 21
Friday, August 22
Saturday, August 23
Wednesday, August 27
Thursday, August 28
Friday, August 29

4pm matinee show:
Saturday August 30

Unity Somerville
6 William St, Somerville

TICKETS: $15 for adults
$12 for students/seniors.
Group discounts available.

Jun 10

Securing the Myth-ing Link: GIDEON’S KNOT

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater
By Johnna Adams
Directed by Karen MacDonald

June 5 – 22, 2014
the Boston Center for the Arts
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings: Graphic depiction of rape and violence, controversial and political arguments, full-body hugging

“Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian Knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter”
(Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 1 Scene 1. 45–47)

(Boston) Alexander the Great is famous for marching through Asia and Africa in the name of Greece when he was 18 years old. He was a merciless conqueror and much of his work shaped the known BCE world. According to popular myth, in 333 BCE Alexander was shown a intricate knot in tying a chariot to a pole left by the sloppy founder of the city of Gordium. It was foretold that only the future ruler of Asia could untie the knot. Alexander, being the sensitive and thoughtful boy he wasn’t, instead hacked through the knot with his sword. Earlier versions of the myth imply Alexander first tries cunning to sort out the mess but eventually uses the pointy end of a sword to solve the riddle. These are the origins of the term “cutting the Gordian Knot.” It has come to mean using creative measures (cheating) in order to solve an convoluted problem. Continue reading

Apr 28

Make ’em Laugh: “The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)”

­­­Michael Faulkner and Dominic Conti of the Reduced Shakespeare Company; Photos by Meghan MooreMichael Faulkner and Dominic Conti of the Reduced Shakespeare Company; Photos by Meghan Moore

Presented by The Reduced Shakespeare Company
Written and Directed by Reed Martin and Astin Tichenor

April 24th – May 18th, 2014
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell MA
The Reduced Shakespeare Company on Facebook
Merrimack Repertory Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Lowell) The Reduced Shakespeare Company have long been proprietors of abridged histories and this touring production of The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) will deliver everything that you expect from the boys at the RSC: a three-man team dishing out biting satire, poignant historical and social commentary, and a dude in a really bad wig. Continue reading

Feb 20

I’m of Two Minds (Both Alike in Dignity): “Romeo Juliet”

Photo borrowed from Club Oberon “Romeo Juliet” event site.

Presented by The Hypocrites
Directed and Adapted by Sean Graney
Adapted from the play by William Shakespeare

February 19 – 22, 2014
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
The Hypocrites on Facebook

Whew!  Thanks for sticking with me, readers! Welcome to the Epic Conclusion of Dani’s Grand Bardopalooza Adventure: 2K14.  Over three days, I have attended and reviewed three different American Shakespeare remixes.  Tonight’s grand finale: Romeo Juliet presented by The Hypocrites at Club Oberon.

(Cambridge) Let’s start here: this is probably best titled a “remix” of Shakespeare’s play rather than a straight-up performance or adaptation.  Sean Graney took the original text, cut it, cropped it, zoomed in on some things, and re-arranged everything else to befit the story he wanted to tell.  And, as I said in my review of 12 Nights, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that treatment.  As an audience member, you should just be aware that you’re not going to be seeing Shakespeare on this stage; you’re going to be seeing work inspired by a timeless story.  As such, I think familiarity with the source text is a must.  I definitely saw plenty of kids in the audience, but I wasn’t certain that this was the best vehicle for introducing our well-known story to them. The story itself, in this form, felt rushed and improbable; like Graney was trying to slot too many elements into his slim sixty-minute time window.  There were moments that even I barely followed (and that’s saying something). Continue reading