Photo credit to Nile Scott; Image shows Jasmine M. Rush in Queens Girl in the World, sitting on a swing. Behind her, the set, which predominantly features a large, white house, is lit with a mixture of purple and orange lights. In the scene, Jasmine’s character is smiling happily.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — There is a practice in the UK that I absolutely love: you can purchase a copy of the show you’re there to see at the bar. Going to see a new play? Buy a copy of it with your Malbec. Attending the show alone? Peruse your new copy while sipping Chardonnay at intermission. (Or Diet Coke if you’re reviewing.)
In the case of last night’s Queens Girl in the World, I wanted to buy and immediately read the entire Queens Girl Trilogy: Queens Girl in the World, Queens Girl in Africa, Queens Girl: Black in the Green Mountains. Character Jacqueline Marie Butler, written by Caleen Sinnette Jennings, is so captivating I want to know more about her. Continue reading →
Produced by Amazon Studios Director and writer Kay Cannon Musical score by Mychael Danna and Jessica Rose Weiss Cinematography by Henry Braham Film Editing by Stacey Schroeder Songs arranged by Keith Harrison Score performed by Synchron Stage Orchestra Conducted by Johannes Vogel Choreography by Ashley Wallen
Review by Kitty Drexel
Amazon — The new Cinderella by Amazon Studios and Kay Cannon is receiving many bad reviews. Cinderella isn’t bad. It’s mediocre. It’s Glee.
This Cinderella is written for and appeals to a new generation of consumers. It’s not for us; it’s for a population of The Voice fans who skim Instagram as they tweet their deepest thoughts.
It’s sexist and racist. Women are still degrading themselves for men. The leads and most secondary characters are majority white. England is so busy attempting to correct its inherent classism that it can’t cast BIPOC as leads in the stories it appropriates. (It’s not enough to put non-white people in mainstream movies and TV. You’ve got to let them tell their own stories.) Continue reading →
Jennifer Bubriski, Kris Sidberry, Esme Allen, Marianna Bassham, and Rami Margron “Hurricane Diane” Photo: Nile Hawver
Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company Written by Madeleine George Directed by Jenny Koons Original music and sound design by Ben Scheff Voice coaching by Christine Hamel Intimacy Consultant: Ayshia Mackie-Stephenson
PLEASE NOTE: This production includes strobe lighting effects and a simulated thunderstorm.
Critique by Kitty Drexel
“You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”
– Dorothy Parker, theatre critic, poet & hero
BOSTON, Mass. — Hurricane Diane is fun and topical. It smacks of “The Witches of Eastwick.” Please go see it.
It is recommended that attendees get vaccinated. Everyone must wear a mask (even performers when not actively performing). It’s not just your friendly, neighborhood theatre critic telling you, it’s also on The Huntington’s website.
There are two sets of ushers after the BCA’s Box Office waiting to assist patrons into the theater. The first set of BCA staff will confirm your vaccination status or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. It behooves you to have this info at the ready so one doesn’t create a traffic jam. Continue reading →
Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company Written by Fabiola R. Decius, Adriana RoCale, Nico Pang, Hortense Gerardo, Paige Monopoli, and Magda Romanska Performed by Cheryl Singleton, Garciela Femenia, Jupiter Lê, Paige Clark, Gigi Watson, and Darya Denisova Directed by Dawn M. Simmons, Michelle Aguillon, Desire Bennett, Michelle Ambila, Alex Lonati, and Dmitry Troyanovsky
ONLINE — Celebrating the unique identities and experiences that make up the city of Boston, Speakeasy presents The Boston Project: Project Resilience. Showcasing six original plays by Boston local playwrights, Project Resilience is part of Speakeasy’s initiative in supporting the creation of new play development set in Boston.Continue reading →
Presented by FourthWall Theatrical, in association withFake Friends andJeremy O. Harris Conceived & Written by Michael Breslin & Patrick Foley Directed by Rory Pelsue Dramaturgy by Cat Rodríguez and Ariel Sibert Sound Design by Kathy Ruvuna Lighting Design by Amith Chandrashaker Scenic Design by Stephanie Osin Cohen Featuring Michael Breslin, Patrick Foley, and Jakeem Dante Powell
“Who’s watching this?” “It’s just for me.” — Michael to Patrick, This American Wife
ONLINE — Catching my attention from the moment it began, This American Wife is a thrilling play that speaks to our cultural obsession of American reality TV. A house staple in escaping our current realities and trauma, theatre company Fake Friends invites audiences to witness and reckon with the art of reality TV. Continue reading →
Tributes in the Arena. Photo credit imaginary beasts.
Presented by imaginary beasts Directed by Matthew Woods Written by Matthew Woods & Noah Simes Costumes: Cotton Talbot-Minkin Visual Design & Illustration: Lillian P.H. Kology Production Stage Management: Sophia Nora Giordano Video Editing & Design: Sophia Nora Giordano Technical Direction: Bob Mussett Puppet Design & Construction: Sophia Nora Giordano & Jamie Semel Cast: Michael Chodos, Laura Detweiler, Molly Kimmerling, Catherine Luciani, Tara Harbert, Colin McIntire, Amy Meyer, Bob Mussett, Elizabeth Owens, Jill Rogati, Kiki Samko, Jamie Semel, Noah Simes, Derek Smith, Jennifer Taschereau, and Matthew Woods with Sara Kenney and Hannah Uher
March 13, 14, 20 at 4:00 pm ET and March 19 at 7:30 pm ET on Zoom New show added! March 21 at 4 pm! Tickets: imaginarybeasts.eventbrite.com All tickets are Pay What You Wish with a $0 minimum imaginary beasts on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM — The imaginary beasts yearly panto is a Massachusetts theatre institution. It doesn’t feel like wintertime without it! So thank goodness the beasties rallied and produced their February family-show in March. Continue reading →
Home Office Created & Written by John J King & Ramona Rose King A J-RexPlays Production Quick, Fun & Dirty, for the People www.J-RexPlays.com Venmo: @JRexPlays
Review by Kitty Drexel
ASTORIA , NY — Creators and Boston community members John J. King and Ramona Rose King moved to New York City! During a pandemic! Home Office: Season Two follows their adventures in their new city. They find work, new friends, and opportunities all within a two-block radius.
A summary from YouTube: Home Office returns for a second season, following Mona and Jonathan as the couple moves to New York City mid-pandemic and struggles to get jobs, forge friendships, and take on their most collaborative project yet.
The second season is brief. It’s five episodes. The first season was was twelve. The stakes are higher but the circumstances are just as twee. Watch them navigate their relationship in a minuscule Astoria apartment without killing each other. As John says in episode three, “It’s nice!”
Also available to stream:
Mr. Parent presented by Theaterworks Hartford Based on stories from Maurice Parent Playwright: Melinda Lopez Conceived with and directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian Video Multimedia Production Jared Mezzocchi Associate Video Editor Katerina Vitaly ASL Video Editor Cassandra Saulski Audio Mix/Mastering Matt Berky, Massive Productions
Ahmadinejad in the stage version of “Disclaimer.” Photography by Maria Baranova.
Presented by the The Public Theater The Under the Radar Festival Written by Tara Ahmadinejad Created by Piehole Co-directed by Tara Ahmadinejad and Jeff Wood Dramaturgy by Heidi Davis Performed by Tara Ahmadinejad with Hassan Nazari-Robati with special guests Other credits
January 11 – January 17, 2021 Via the Public Theater YouTube channel Public Theater on Facebook
My sincere apologies to The Public and to Piehole for this review’s tardiness. Personal tragedy prevented me from completing my review in a timely manner.
Review by Kitty Drexel
Disclaimer: This LIVE in-Zoom event contains propaganda, vague promises of Persian food, minimally invasive audience participation, and (gasp) MURDER.
ZOOM — Piehole’s Disclaimer is a new work only in that it has never been performed over Zoom. It lived onstage last year for the 2020 Under the Radar Festival in New York City. It was workshopped in 2019.
Disclaimer is a live-cooking tutorial over Zoom. Chef Nargis (Tara Ahmadinejad) and Sous chef “juuls are cuul” Hassan (Hassan Nazari-Robati) teach their audience to make Sabzi Polo, a yummy sounding Iranian rice dish made with butter, dried fenugreek leaves, garlic, saffron, and other ingredients. Our chef tells us about Iranian family life, culture, and plunges down a rabbithole of Iranian/US politics as she cooks.
The cooking doesn’t go as intended. Chef Nargis is distracted by the state of Iran’s tenuous relationship with the US despite Hassan’s gentle yet insistent redirecting back to the recipe. Nargis is worried that the US will go to war with Iran. It is never the politicians who make war who suffer. No, it is the people of the land who pay the price when demagogues play King. Continue reading →
Written by Hayley Spivey
Music & Lyrics by Abbie Goldberg, Aaron Goodwin, Haley Spivey
Toy piano playing by James LaBella
Directed & edited by Andrew Child
Art direction by Andrew Child
Puppet knitwear & opening sequence artwork by Sara Kenny
Reindeer & snowman puppet by Joe Wood
Exterior of Mary’s House by Hayley Spivey
Ink & watercolor images by Lou Lim
Featuring: Ben Astrachan, Alex Casillas, Ethan Child, Becky Ittner, Dylan Scott, Kayla Shimizu, and Michael Herschberg
YOUTUBE — Punk is not dead. Mary’s Dark Christmas is the most hardcore thing I’ve seen this year, and my housemate had COVID-19 before we knew what caused it or how it was spread.
In this deep dive into the twisted depths of Spivey’s conscious mind, third-grader Mary Christmas (Becky Ittner) goes on a bender of junk-punching tantrums because Santa (as himself) cancels Christmas. Jeff Bezos (Jack Brewer) swoops in to save capitalism with his Naughty or Nice program™. He believes “that everyone has the right to infect and kill their grandparents so they can see a few presents under their tree.” Continue reading →
Showstopper Virtual Play Series Presented by New Rep Theatre Premieres by Alexis Scheer and Miranda Austen ADEkoje
November 21 – December 13, 2020 Performances will be audio described by Cori Couture on Saturday, 12/12 at 7:00pm and Sunday, 12/13 at 4:00pm. Over Zoom New Rep on Facebook
“A Very Herrera Holiday” By Alexis Scheer Directed by Sarah Shin With Amanda Figueroa
“[keyp-ing]” By Miranda Austen ADEkoje Directed by Dawn M. Simmons With Jasmine M Rush
Review by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM — New Rep’s “A Very Herrera Holiday” and “[keyp-ing]” are two plays about women who have had enough. In the former, Emma Herrera (Amanda Figueroa) uses her DIF crafting Youtube stardom to celebrate the holidays with a family recipe for coquitos. “[keyp-ing]” chronicles Monica Jenae’s personal fight against white supremacy as Boston-area freelance commercial producer. Continue reading →