May 22

Fempool: THE VILLAINS’ SUPPER CLUB

Kristen Mengelkoch (Galactic Girl). Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Lila Rose Kaplan
Directed by Sean Daniels

April 25 – May 20, 2018
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) Bringing a comic book to life on stage can be extremely difficult, but deconstructing the comic book genre onstage can bring a new round of pitfalls. While the Merrimack Repertory Theatre production of “The Villains’ Supper Club” sometimes stumbles through the scattershot superhero world created by Lila Rose Kaplan’s script, it does so with a winsome and improvisational spirit. This, combined with the fact that Rose Kaplan has packed the script with some really great comical lines, leaves theatergoers with a visually stunning and utterly unique theatrical experience that may not always make sense, but is always entertaining. Continue reading

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May 15

The Undiscovered Country: Heritage Hill Naturals

The cast. Photo via Fresh Ink Facebook page

Presented by Fresh Ink
Written by Francisca Da Silveira
Directed by Phaedra Michelle Scott

May 11 – 26, 2018
Deane Hall, The Standford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) Fresh Ink Theatre Presents: Heritage Hill Naturals is nominally an examination of the millennial generation’s anxiety, paralysis, and distractions from their unique existential malaise. These distractions come in the form of Buzzfeed memes, selfie stick subculture, and month-long agro-tourism stints in rural America. Our protagonist, Lucy, seeks self-enlightenment, or at least solace from her anxiety and depression at Heritage Hill Naturals, one such farm in rural Georgia. Here, she finds anything but, amongst a cast of quirky characters, and strange circumstances beyond her scope of experience or her best efforts at benevolence. Continue reading

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May 11

“DIANA!” – sketch comedy for millennials born in the mid-1990s

Presented by ImprovBoston
40 Prospect St, Cambridge, MA
Friday, 4 May 2018 @ 10pm
Next performance is June 8, 11PM
IB on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Central Square, Cambridge) DIANA! was marketed as an all-women musical to be performed by a cast of passionate comediennes who celebrate imperfection, and this was the only preparation patrons were provided, because that’s how it goes in the improv comedy circuit.  Late night audiences show up, some degree of inebriated and half-heartedly hoping our performers are capable of spontaneously spurning out sunny slapstick satire. The cast of DIANA! had their assignment – to parody imperfection – and they did a terribly terrific job of mocking classy “classic people” and laughing at highbrow literature. Continue reading

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May 03

Meet the Producer: An Interview with The Startup’s Elisha Siegel

An Interview with Elisha Siegel
Presented by Boston Chai Party
Foundation Kitchen
Somerville, MA
The Startup on Facebook

By Diana Lu

(Somerville, MA) When the words “Boston” and “startup” are used in the same sentence, most people think of software or biotech. However, Boston has also been a long-time incubator for some of the best comedy of this generation. Countless internationally famous comedians have cut their teeth at local institutions, such as The Comedy Studio and Comedy Connection. Today, the local comedy community is as welcoming as it is thriving—I recently heard a heartwarming story in which a young man who was interested in comedy visited a newly opened theater, and the theater manager let him in, took him in front of the empty theater, and just lit the spotlight for him, because he had never been onstage before. There are more theaters, shows, and open mics now, and in more areas of the city, than ever before. New performers have every opportunity to try telling jokes for the first time in their lives, while veteran comics march on creating, experimenting, and developing their unique voices, as well as producing independent shows. Audiences only need to Google “comedy Boston” for a slew of high-quality options to choose from on any given night of the week. Continue reading

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Apr 23

Mother’s Day Should be Plural: “Little Orphan Danny”

Julie Foldesi (Band Member/Women) and Dan Finnerty (Book, Lyrics, Music/Danny)
Photo by Meghan Moore

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Concept by Dan Finnerty and Sean Daniels
Book and Lyrics by Dan Finnerty
Music by Dan Finnerty and Dan Lipton

March 21 – April 15, 2018
Lowell, Massachusetts
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) As a father of an adopted child, I often wonder how I will guide my son through the emotional stages of thinking about his origin story. I picture many long, earnest, possibly tear-filled conversations that will be good for us to go through, but certainly not entertaining. In Little Orphan Danny, wiseass rock singer Dan Finnerty decided to tell his own story of adoption, and it’s indeed a tearjerker of a musical. My eyes were wet and my ribs were sore from laughing so hard. Continue reading

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Mar 19

The First Tragic Big Man of Hollywood: “Lost Laughs – The Slapstick Tragedy of Fatty Arbuckle”

Aaron Muñoz (Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle) and Kristen Mengelkock (Will); Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Andy Bayiates and Aaron Muñoz.
Directed by Nathan Keepers

February 14 – March 11, 2018
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) Since the advent of the movie industry, we only pay money to see fat men on the silver screen if we can laugh at them. This has invited a parade of tortured souls willing to be crying-on-the-inside clowns in exchange for riches and some measure of acceptance. Too often, however, these jesters (John Belushi, Chris Farley, etc.) break down, and we celebrate the tragedy of a “brilliant life cut short” while waiting for the next heavy man waiting in the wings. Continue reading

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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
3/2-3/24
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

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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

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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

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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

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