Sep 11

Too Much of a Good Thing is Just Wonderful: Why Have One Thing “Or,” the Other When You Can Have It All?

Photo by Chelsea Ruscio.

Presented by Maiden Phoenix and Simple Machine
By Liz Duffy Adams
Directed by Adrienne Boris
September 8 – September 23, 2017

Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnismmet Street
Chelsea, MA 02150
OR the play on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Chelsea, MA) I sometimes think going to a play is a bit like going to a party where you know nobody at all, save for the person you bring with you. Sometimes, the party can leave you feeling adrift and awkward in your own skin. Other times, you meet some funny, clever people you never expected to meet. They are delighted to include you, for an hour or so (or an eighty minute run time without intermission), in the intimate secrets of their lives and draw you close with the honesty only complete strangers would dare to share with you. The sweet, hilarious, and deliciously bawdy “Or,” is such a party. I recommend attending as soon as possible in order to enjoy the yarn spun between Kaylyn Bancroft (Nell Gwynne/Lady Davenant/Maria/A Jailer), Michael Poignand (as slimily charming King Charles II and charmingly slimy William Scott, divided by a common language with different annunciation) and Anna Waldron (Aphra Behn). Continue reading

Aug 08

“Chess”: When the World is Not Your Oyster

Photo credit: Julie Henion

Presented by The MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players
Book by Richard Nelson
Music by Benny Andersson and Bjӧrn Ulvaeus
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Directed by Emma Brown
Music Direction by Elena Sokoloski

August 4 – August 13, 2017
Kresge Little Theater
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02139
Chess Facebook Event

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Chess is a grim Cold War fable told around an international obsession with the titular board game. Director Emma Brown and the MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players bring to life the ‘80’s show with a heavy dose of whimsy, suffusing the production with neon-colored nostalgia. Despite some song reshuffling, lyric changes, and obvious fun had by the cast, there’s little they can do to fix a rushed romance and peculiar pacing, creating a hurky-jerky but intriguing roller coaster of a musical. Continue reading

Jun 05

Odyssey Opera’s “Patience” is Pitch Perfect

Photo by Kathy Wittman

Odyssey Opera
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Libretto by W.S. Gilbert
Conductor: Gil Rose
Stage Director: Frank Kelley
Choreographer: Larry Sousa

June 2&3, 2017 at 7:30pm
Huntington Avenue Theatre
Boston, MA
Facebook Event

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) After seeing the most recent Gilbert and Sullivan to delight Boston last night, I’ve decided to become an aesthete. One need only find an English poet with opaque poetry to adore, dress in long, flowing garments, talk about the wonders of Aestheticism, lay around, and sigh. But while Patience mocks the women who fawn over pale, tragic poet Reginald Bunthorne (the remarkably funny Aaron Engebreth), it also mocks the Dragoons who are their forgotten fiancees, the vain rival poet Archibald Grosvenor (an airily confident Paul Max Tipton), and the humble, befuddled milk maid, the titular Patience (Sara Heaton), who’s too innocent to understand what the concept of love even is. In short, this is a Gilbert and Sullivan show at its most Gilbert and Sullivan: staunchly lighthearted. Continue reading

May 19

“The Demon” Serves in Heaven and Raises Hell

Presented by Commonwealth Lyric Theater Orchestra and Chorus PESVEBI Georgian Dance Ensemble
By Anton Rubenstein
Based on a poem by Mikhail Lermontov
Conductor: Lidiya Yankovskaya
Artistic/Stage Director: Alexander Prokhorov
Production Director and Stage Manager: Steven Kunis

May 18th and 20th, 2017 at 8pm
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
Facebook

By Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) In the world of Anton Rubenstein’s The Demon, the danger of Hell is ever-present, princesses are virtuous, princes are valorous, and Heaven is an ethereal step away. Aleksey Bogdanov is the titular Demon, a creature that informs the audience and the angel with whom he spars, Anna Cley, he has chosen freedom over God. In the course of the play, he also chooses Tamara (played with wide-eyed innocence by Zhanna Alkhazova) and upends her life. Continue reading

May 12

The Federation of Belligerent Writers Presents The Gauntlet of Belligerence

The Federation of Belligerent Writers Presents The Gauntlet of Belligerence
Rockwell Theatre in Somerville
Saturday, May 13th
Doors at 9:30pm, 21+
$13.50 online, $15 at the door.

Facebook Event

Promo by Gillian “Demoness Bixen” Daniels

(Somerville, MAThe Federation of Belligerent Writers is back at the Rockwell on Saturday, May 13th! I hope you’re ready to chant, dance, and throw things at the stage!

Who are we? FBW!
The Federation is a bracketed style, masked writing tournament. We started as a luchador wrestling-inspired contest at Ralph’s Rock Diner in Worcester. Now we’re so much more. Want to come drink and party with us?

Here’s this months matches:
Match 1: Princess Consuela Bananahammock vs. Shithead the Clown!
The Disney-esque and sublime push-up princess goes head to head with a brand-new competitor, who definitely is not an evil hell clown.

Match 2: Demoness Bixen vs. Space Casey!
Yours truly, trying her best to be despicable and almost certainly failing while wearing demon horns, fights the spaciest, burger-shirt wearing man in the galaxy.

Match 3: Fumblebee vs. El Hermano del Semental!
A sweet, little, murderous bumblebee takes on a horse of a different color, specifically a brony.

Match 4: Amazing vs. Kevin, the FBW Intern!
Innocent, put-upon fangirl goes against innocent, put-upon intern. Who will out-awkward the other?

How does this work?
During each round, two competitors take the stage, one in the red corner, the other in the blue. Three words are chosen at random by MCs Cassie Tai Tortorici as Becky, a Starbucks-and-gin-swilling, foul-mouthed stage manager, and Ethan White as “El Locutor Fabulso,” also known as “That Guy.”

Competing writers have five minutes to write virtually anything in any style within the scope of their characters as long as they use said words. During the round, the audience is encouraged to throw balls at the stage and dance.

At the end of five minutes, each writer is asked to share what they’ve committed to paper, laptop, or memory. Then, the audience votes on who will advance and who will not.

Buy a drink, pull up a chair, and come decide their fate this Saturday

Queen’s Note:
We elected a thin-skinned bigot to the office of the President dead set on turning our “democracy” into a fascist, totalitarian oligarchy dominated by the 1%. Trump is a monster. His policies, when he names them, are destructive. His narcissistic behavior is more so.

Congressional “negotiators” released a spending bill that saves the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities, and National Public Radio until September at which time, the President and his impotent cronies may still cut arts funding. It is ever important to remain vigilant. And, for the love of all that’s sacred, keep creating. If you need help, ask for it. Our existence is our resistance. May the force be with you. – KD

TCG has a list of things you can do to help.

#blacklivesmatter #translivesmatter #brownlivesmatter #yellowlivesmatter #lgbtqialivesmatter #immigrantlivesmatter #muslimlivesmatter #disabledlivesmatter #theatreartsmatter #NODAPL

May 12

“I, Snowflake” Attempts to Catch the World on Fire

Photo found on Anthem’s Facebook page.

Devised and presented by Anthem Theatre Company
Conceived, written and directed by Bryn Boice

May 11 – 14, 2017
Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown, Massachusetts
Anthem on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) I, Snowflake is an airing of grief. It’s a response to the triumph of a boldly and casually racist America that was always there, like groundwater nourishing the trees. In fragmented pieces—commuters loudly reacting to headlines on a train, a café of women discussing the importance of their diets and dates, a family circle miming eating—we are given a portrait of a moment in our shared history. And that moment is raw and tender as an exposed nerve.  Continue reading

May 03

Successful Marriage of Romantic Comedy Eras in “Figaro”

Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Conducted by David Angus
Directed by Rosetta Cucci

April 28th – May 7th, 2017
John Hancock Hall
Back Bay Events Center
180 Berkley Street
Boston, MA 02116
BLO on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) A 1950’s-style screwball comedy proves its compatibility with a comic opera from 1786 in this brilliant production. It’s layered, creating the idea of a show-within-a-show as stage hands help along the action, feeling like Kiss Me Kate with Mozart as source material rather than Shakespeare. With the help of charming, self-aware direction from Rosetta Cucchi and conductor David Angus, the story of two servants who outwit the wandering eye of a less-than-noble nobleman feels universal, familiar, and luminescent.  Continue reading

Mar 28

“Dangerous Liaisons” is Deliciously Dark

Photo by Dan Busler Photography — with Sam DeSoto, Melanie Bacaling and Andrew Miller.

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Music by Conrad Susa and Libretto by Philip Littell
Directed by Greg Smucker
Music direction by Brendon Shapiro
Based on the scandalous 18th century novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.

March 24 – April 1, 2017
The Plaza Theatre at
The Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116
Facebook Event

Review by Gillian Daniels

Warning: Sexual content and statutory rape.

(Boston, MA) Sex, manipulation, treachery, and high society. There’s a reason the original French novel was mined for a cheesy ‘90’s film about rich, spoiled teenagers.  Continue reading

Mar 18

What a marvel: “Edward II”

(l to r) Edward II (Maurice Emmanuel Parent), Gaveston (Eddie Shields), and Lancaster (Nigel Gore) – Photo by Maggie Hall

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

February 22 – March 19, 2017
Charlestown Working Theater
ASPBoston on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

WARNING: Nudity, violence.

(I beg forgiveness from the cast and crew of Edward II! I was trapped on the west coast during the blizzard, and only returned last night. It was not possible to post Ms. Daniels’ review until then. My sincerest apologies, and best wishes for a closing weekend! – Kitty, the Queen Geek)

(Charlestown, MA)  This show is intense. I could feel my temples vibrate during intermission. The power and emotion has stayed with me for days. I cried during the show, afterward, and grew teary remembering it. I am not at all surprised the production has added more performances to its tight schedule. This is a melodrama realized with an expert, brutal hand. Continue reading

Jan 11

“Mirror” Immerses Audience in Both Moving Show and Modern Complexities of Womanhood

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Frauenliebe und –leben
Music by Robert Schumann
Text by Adelbert von Chamisso

From the Diary of Virginia Woolf
Music by Dominick Argento
Text from the diaries of Virginia Woolf
Directed by Greg Smucker & Patricia-Maria Weinmann

January 6-8, 2017
Longy School of Music of Bard College
Cambridge, MA
Boston Collaborative Opera on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Two portraits of women, written over a century apart. The first is an idealized character looking to not only marry, but be subsumed by her husband’s identity in a happy, storybook life. In German, she sings of having no desire beyond being this man’s wife. She is the heroine of Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben (A Woman’s Love and Life) from 1830, itself based on a series of poems by Adelbert von Chamisso. Two men filter the story of a fictional woman, a touching if pastel view of a girl coming of age. Carley DeFranco breathes life into this creature (also played by Susannah Thornton, Rhaea D’Aliesio, and Julia Cavallaro, depending on one’s tour of the Zabriskie House mansion where the show is staged) with a Disney-esque sweetness. Continue reading