Apr 25

Joy, Compassion, Kicking Ass in Spandex: “Black Super Hero Magic Mama”

Ramona Lisa Alexander – Photo by Lauren Miller

Presented by Company One in collaboration with American Repertory Theater,
Boston Public Library, and Boston Comics in Color Festival
Written by Inda Craig-Galván 
Directed by Monica White Ndounou
Dramaturgy by Ilana M Brownstein and Regine Vital
Animation design & comics consultant: Cagen Luse
Fight choreography by Margaret Clark

April 23 – May 21, 2022
Rabb Hall @ Boston Public Library’s Central Branch
Copley Square
Boston, MA 
All tickets are Pay-What-You-Want ($0 minimum)

Recommended for ages 14 and up. This production contains depictions of police brutality, violence, death, grief, depression, and strong language.

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — The leads of Black Super Hero Magic Mama deserve a critic that looks like them. I look like the cops that are acquitted by juries that also look like me for killing unarmed Black men and women. There are more white critics than Black critics in New England. We need more Black critics in Boston. I strongly urge interested individuals to apply for The Porch’s Young Critics Program this winter and then to shoot me an email. 

Company One and American Repertory Theatre’s Black Super Hero Magic Mama shows us an unsettled Chicago. Sabrina Jackson (Ramona Lisa Alexander, who ran that stage like Pam Grier on a mission) is raising a bright young quiz show star Tramarion Jackson (Joshua Robinson). When Tramarion isn’t trouncing the competition on “Know Your Heritage” with Coach Corey Brackett (Ricardo Engermann), he’s writing comic books with his friend Joseph A Hughes aka Flat Joe (Anderson Stinson III). These two smart but mouthy kids have bright futures. That is until the worst happens. Continue reading

Dec 29

You Don’t Have to Understand Your Queer Family to Love Your Queer Family: “The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge”

Rehearsal for “The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge.” Photo by Meghan Moore/Megpix

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Trista Baldwin
Directed by Courtney Sale
Cast: Kristian Espiritu, Karen MacDonald, Eliza Simpson, Milicent Wright

Now – January 4, 2022
Video on Demand via Mandolin.com
MRT Playbill 
MRT on Facebook

Age Recommendation: 14 and older. Some adult content/language.

Review by Kitty Drexel

Video-On-Demand — The copious productions of The Christmas Carol that come around every year are for mainstream Christmas celebrators. The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge is a Christmas production for the rest of us. It’s intersectionality feminist. It passes the Bechdel Test. It’s under two hours, and you can drink rum-nog the entire time from your own home. Cheers! 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house… Carol (New England darling Karen MacDonald) was stirring because her daughter Holly (Kristian Espiritu) was finally coming home to Brockton, Mass.! This year Holly is bringing her special friend Jordan (Eliza Martin Simpson). Worlds, politics, and identities collide when Holly reveals to Carol that Jordan is more than just her Jewish, progressive liberal friend from Portland.

Milicent Wright plays the online Zumba cueing, comestible baking, excellent listener and BFF neighbor Chris. I would take Zumba class with Chris/Millicent any day. She seems fun.  Continue reading

Dec 16

The WASPs are Not OK: “Incels and Other Myths”

Photo by Stratton McCrady: Matthew Swain, Julien Tornelli, Fady Demian.

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre 
Written By Ally Sass
Directed by Erica Terpening-Romeo
A BU New Play initiative production
Produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre

December 2-12, 2021
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
BPT on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

BOSTON — Incels and Other Myths invites the audience into the world of massive multiplayer online gaming and the Lord of the Flies corners of the internet, where misogyny has even less consequences than in the physical world. Elaine (Allison Blaize), a mythology teacher at an all-girls high school, and her precocious but awkward son Avery (Aidan Close) play the historical fantasy game, “Oracle.” In “Oracle,” they try on highly gendered, performative personas and encounter friends and monsters that help them get in touch with integral parts of themselves they couldn’t face in real life. Continue reading

Nov 06

To Laugh Without Restraint: “BLKS”

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Aziza Barnes
Directed by Tonasia Jones
Fight & Intimacy choreography by Ted Hewlett
Dramaturgy by Raul Avila Munoz

Oct. 29 – Nov. 20, 2021
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA 
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Last Thursday night, I had the privilege to see BLKS with an audience that contained a larger population of non-white people than most. It was revelatory to watch a cast perform for an audience they could identify with. The cast relaxed into their excellent performances. They took risks. We appreciated them. It was great until it wasn’t. 

When a cast relaxes, the audience does too. This is wonderful if the art is for you. It’s not when the art is for someone else.  Continue reading

Oct 09

Cream Soda to Crème de Menthe: “Queens Girl in the World”

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.

Co-produced by The Nora@Central Square Theater, The Front Porch Arts Collective, and The Hangar Theater
Written by Caleen Sinnette Jennings
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
Performed by Jasmine M. Rush

September 30 – October 31, 2021
Streaming link
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
CST on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: abuse, grooming 

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

Sep 15

Is the Rhythm Nation Unionized? Or, Fun is Fun: Amazon’s “Cinderella” 

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

Sep 04

Pawpaw Trees are the Gateway to Orgiastic Ritual: “Hurricane Diane”

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

The Playbill
August 27 – September 26, 2021
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 
527 Tremont Street 
Boston MA 02116
The Huntington on social media: @huntington

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

Jun 22

Reintegration Through Art: “The Boston Project: Project Resilience”

Banner art by SpeakEasy Stage Co.

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

Running June 18-30, 2021
Streaming Online 
Speakeasy Stage Company on Facebook

Review by Afrikah Smith

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

May 25

A haunting, meta experience: “This American Wife”

Presented by FourthWall Theatrical, in association with Fake Friends and Jeremy 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

May 20- June 6, 2021
Streamed over the internets via Stellar tickets
Fake Friends on Facebook

Critique by Afrikah Smith

“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

Mar 16

Another Day, Another Destiny: “Winter Panto 2021: The Panto Games”

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