Mar 16

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Stevens: “Steve”

Travolta eat your heart out. Photo by David J. Miller

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company
By Mark Gerrard
Directed by

Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Zeigeist on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Zeigeist Stage Company’s production of “Steven” is comedy which depicts the fracturing of a modern queer family. Since on average everyone’s a little more queer than they would have been a decade ago, there isn’t much dialogue or action that would make sense to only a queer audience. Coded moments between the characters are more about their bonds of friendship or assumed family bonds. At a zippy 80 minutes with no intermission, this is a compact show with a quick-moving cast. Continue reading

Mar 06

Laughing Together to Confront Suicide Stigma: “Every Brilliant Thing”

Krstansky with audience members. Those happy faces tell you all you need to know. Maggie Hall Photography

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Duncan MacMillan
With Jonny Donahoe
Directed by Marianna Bassham
Featuring Adrianne Krstansky

March 21 – 31, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Every Brilliant Thing is a story about a woman’s appreciation for living as told through a long list of joys. Audience participation is nearly mandatory. Adrianne Krstansky is so welcoming that volunteering is fun. The Calderwood Pavilion is a safer space for an hour.   Continue reading

Jan 23

A Pleasant Romcom: “Shakespeare in Love”

Shakespeare at Viola’s feet. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Based on the screenplay by Mac Norman & Tom Stoppard
Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall
Directed by Scott Edmiston
Original music/music direction/sound design by David Reiffel
Choreography/period movement by Judith Chaffee
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Jan. 12 – Feb. 10, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) SpeakEasy’s production of Shakespeare in Love is okay. People who loved the movie will get a lot out of attending. Anyone expecting a revelatory experience from their theatre will be disappointed. Aside from the lighting design by Karen Perlow (which made Jennifer Ellis look like a gilded angel floating down from Heaven, and the set look like a theatre in a night forest) and the compositions by David Reiffel, this production is good but unremarkable.    Continue reading

Jan 16

“The Liar”: Sassy and Solid

Photo by David Brooks Andrews

Presented by Wellesley Repertory Theatre 
Directed by Marta Rainer
Written by David Ives

Jan 11 through Feb 4, 2018
Wellesley Repertory Theatre
106 Central St, Wellesley, MA
WRT on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

An earlier posting of this review included typos. We sincerely apologize for such mistakes to the cast, crew, and audience of The Liar.

(Wellesley, Massachusetts)  On a rainy night I drove to Wellesley, my Kia Soul surrounded by rolling mists of grey fog, and my patriotic heart weighed down by the repeated disappointment that is Donald, embarrassed and saddened by the virulent racism he displayed again —this time publicly referring to other nations as “shithole” countries.  At the theatre, I settled into my seat with a sigh and a slight frown. And I probably crossed my arms at some point, which I’m prone to do when silently seething.  I was sad and huffy and not in a state to kindly review anything.   Continue reading

Dec 24

A Mobile, Spectacle-Driven Adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility”

Presented by Bedlam
Written by Kate Hamill
Based on the novel by Jane Austen
Directed by Eric Tucker

December 10, 2017 – January 14, 2018
The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.)
ART on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Communicating the swift wit of a Jane Austen story is sometimes lost in an adaptation of her work. What better metaphor for the pace and quick gossip of polite society than a stage where all the furniture has wheels and actors move across it with the precision of a ballet? Bedlam, in its own words, “creates works of theatre that reinvigorate traditional forms in a flexible, raw space.” This adaptation is as kinetic and flexible as described, but it works best when its uses its techniques to highlight Austen’s source material, not when they try to rely on special effects. Continue reading

Dec 11

A More Accurate Dickensian Christmas: “A Christmas Carol”

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
By Charles Dickens
Adapted and directed by Debra Wise
Choreography by Susan Dribble
Dramaturgy by Siobahn Caroll & Iris Smith-d’Agincourt

Nov. 24 – Dec. 31, 2017
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) Modern-day London is as much of a melting pot of cultures as New York City. In Dickens’s Victorian London, immigrants from all over Europe flocked to England. Right now, London is a thickly settled, racially diverse city with citizens representing nearly every country and continent in the world. Then just as now, immigrants from non-European countries did travel about the globe. If Shakespeare can devise a play about an Black officer in the Venetian army, then it’s conceivable that Indians dwelt among the working class 250 years later. That the Nora Theater’s A Christmas Carol incorporates music and dance from outside the England’s stereotypical whiteness is less surprising than it is a refreshing example of reclaiming history. Continue reading

Dec 11

A Lonely Old Man and His “Christmas Carol”

Rebecca White and Joel Colodner; Photo by Meghan Moore

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
Stage adaptation by Tony Brown
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian

November 29 thru December 24, 2017
Merrimack Repertory Theatre on Facebook
132 Warren Street, Lowell, MA  01852

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Lowell, Massachusetts)  Megan Sandberg-Zakian’s production needed a larger cast.  Three hard-working actors struggled to carry this Christmas story, which Charles Dickens populated with nine very diverse characters.  These actors paced the small stage quickly switching between accents and affectations, to communicate to the audience that they were presenting a different personality, and it ended up being an evening of too much talk.  At one point when my eyes were glazing over, I asked myself if I were in a comfortable lull or if I was just bored.  Then during intermission, I overheard a fellow patron say that she hoped she did not fall asleep during the second act.  So I had my answer: She and I were just bored. Continue reading

Nov 28

Love Can’t Afford to be Afraid: “Tartuffe”

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Co.
By Moliere
Translated by Ranjit Bolt
Directed by Peter DuBois
Choreography by Daniel Pelzig
Original music by Peter Golub
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Nov. 10 – Dec. 10, 2017
Avenue of the Arts
Huntington Avenue Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) If you haven’t seen #metoo then it’s likely you’ve been under a proverbial rock. Female and male victims of sexual assault rallied their cry in solidarity with the women accusing Harvey Weinstein of years of criminal misconduct. Weinstein is a pig enabled by others so focused on their own careers/pocketbooks that they wouldn’t stop him. Whether intentional or not, the Huntingington’s Tartuffe is a reflection of the news cycle. In our own backyard, Berklee School of Music harbored rapist professors. “Good” men can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves.   Continue reading

Oct 30

“Robyn is Happy” Deals in Devastating Discomfort

The Hub Theatre Company of Boston presents “Robyn is Happy” through Nov. 11 at the First Church Boston. PHOTO COURTESY HUB THEATRE OF BOSTON

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Written by Michael Elyanow
Directed by Kelly Smith

October 27 – November 11th
First Church Boston
Boston, MA
Hub Theatre Company of Boston on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

 (Boston, MA) Robyn (the confident, hilarious Amie Lytle) has been acting unpredictably since her divorce, alienating her friends of twenty-seven years, the neurotic Trudy (warmly portrayed by Lauren Elias) and sensible Hannah (Christine Dickinson, who delivers a powerful performance). Their friendship is tested as each character redraws their personal boundaries. The actresses hand in fantastic performances, but Robyn is Happy shifts from human melodrama to whacky unreality without pumping the breaks. My problem is largely with finding in what level reality the story is set. Continue reading

Oct 30

“GoreFest XV” and Its Demons

Presented by ImprovBoston
Book by Nate Lopez
Lyrics and score by Jake Cassman
Directed by Nate Lopez
Produced by Josh Garneau

October 19 – 31, 2017
ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect Street
Central Square, Cambridge, MA 02140
ImprovBoston on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Cambridge, Massachusetts)  The cast of the horror show Gorefest XV: Horror House stars clichés such as Rich Guy, Girl Next Door, Mom Girl, Devil Girl, Overachiever Girl, Gay Guy, and Laura Dern.  They were hilariously accurate stereotypes, even Laura Dern as Laura Dern.  For example, Overachiever Girl became sulky when she placed second in a contest.  And Laura Dern screamed “Take this Academy,” as she stabbed herself with a trophy, falling to a fake death, on a stage smothered in puddles of fake blood.   Continue reading