Dec 05

Slick Christmas Dreams: “‘Twas the Night Before…”


Presented by Cirque du Soleil
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November 25 – December 11th, Wednesdays Through Sundays, various times
Boch Center – Wang Theatre
270 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116

Review by Craig Idlebrook

BOSTON — If you are an aspiring fiction writer in whatever genre and have a good idea for a Christmas-themed show, I suggest you pursue it. If our 365-day lust for Hallmark Christmas movies is any indication, there is always a need for more content, and, frankly, most of the ideas that are out there are mediocre at best.

Of course, as an honest critic, I should always take my own idiosyncrasies into account, and how it might differ from the viewpoint of others. I like a low-key Christmas season, and many people don’t, and this difference can color our perspectives on yuletide spectacle. Continue reading

Oct 13

Can’t Stop the Beat: “Drumfolk”

Photo from https://artsemerson.org/events/drumfolk/

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Performed by Step Afrika!
Directed by Jakari Sherman
Composed by Steven M. Allen
Mask Design by Erik Teague
Lighting by Marianne Meadows
Sound designed by Patrick Calhoun and engineered by Danielle McBride
Costumes by Kenaan M. Quander
Step Afrika! was founded by C. Brian Williams, with Mfoniso Akpan serving as Artistic Director

October 5 – 16, 2022, 8 p.m., with weekend matinees at 2 p.m.
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
Drumfolk is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Review by Craig Idlebrook

BOSTON — The Africans who were stolen from their continent to become slaves in the American colonies and many of their descendants created and continue to recreate strong ties of family, music, and community while the forces of white supremacy continually work to strip away their efforts and deny their humanity. This process is as constant as waves cresting on the shore. It can be traced back to the earliest days of the colonization of what would become the United States. Continue reading

May 19

This is the Future Progressive Theatremakers Want: A “Firebird” Ballet

Crappy screencap of a screen photos by Kitty Drexel

Presented by Abilities Dance Boston
Based on the Slavic firebird folktale
Choreography by Ellice Patterson with the ensemble
Music composed and directed by Andrew Choe
The Firebird program has full cast and crew information

May 14 & 15, 2021
Livestreamed from the Wimberly Theatre at the Calderwood Pavillion
Boston, MA
Abilities Dance on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON/YouTube — The pressure to create during quarantine reached monstrous enormity. For every normie Tom, Delia, and Harrison Ford who worked on a script because Lear was written during a pandemic, an artist with a resume of successes couldn’t polish their abilities because they were too busy surviving the next 24-hours. 

Survival for the disabled arts community means something very different than it does the abled community. Jobs for disabled artists didn’t merely dwindle. They vanished overnight. Some of those jobs may never reappear

Our priorities went from managing a job to managing continued existence in a world actively trying to kill them: doctors appointments and surgeries were canceled, elevators became vectors for disease, carers were transferred to essential service positions. We went from demanding plastic straws in restaurants to demanding our right to live at all. It felt like ableds weren’t going to permit us either thing.   Continue reading

Nov 02

It’s Not Always About Mobility: A Dance Concert by Abilities Dance Boston

Presented by Celebrity Series of Boston
Performed by Abilities Dance Boston 
Choreography and audio descriptions by Executive/Artistic Director Ellice Patterson
Audio descriptions edited by Amber Pearcy
Costumes designed by Laura Brody 
Music composed by Erin Rogers and Andrew Choe
Performers: Scynthia Charles, Janelle Diaz, Ellice Patterson, Lauren Sava

Thu. October 29, 8:00 PM
Live-streamed from The Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.
Boston, MA 
Abilities Dance Boston on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: It’s election night 2020. This review is very late. Everything is stressful in this moment. So: we’ll correct mistakes and other issues in the morning. 

Boston, MA — Abled people don’t seem to understand that the intended purpose of assisted mobility devices is freedom. Wheelchairs, crutches, blind canes, and service animals* provide greater environmental access to the user. Hollywood perpetuates the myth that disabled people cannot move without their assisted mobility device. Disabled people can do a lot of things Hollywood doesn’t think they can do like run, sing, love, dance, work, swim, and fuck like champions. 

In reality, how and how often a mobility device is used is determined by the user. The user may not always need their wheelchair or they may always need it. Usage is determined by the user and their medical professional. An untrained, unknown abled adult should never tell a disabled adult how to use their mobility device. This is ableist and, frankly, none of their damn business. 

On Thursday, October 29, Abilities Dance Boston performed eight pieces live to streamed-audience from the Calderwood Pavilion. The stage was bare. The curtains and floor were black. The lightning design favored purples and oranges. The audience was empty.  Continue reading

Feb 27

“Swan Lake in Blue: A Jazz Ballet”

Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company
Music Director and Composer Steve Bass
Director and Choreographer Ilyse Robbins
Featuring Sara Coombs as Odette/Odile and Andy McLeavy as Florenz Siegfried

February 9 – March 1, 2020
395 Main Street
Stoneham, MA 02180
GBSC on Facebook

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

Stoneham, MA — Swan Lake in Blue: A Jazz Ballet is a retelling of the classic ballet Swan Lake with heavy jazz influences. It is set in the 1940s, and takes place in an audition space and night club. Continue reading

Mar 09

“When Angels Fall”: El Greco Would Be Proud

When Angels Fall – Photo Credit: Georges Ridel

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Direction and Choreography by Raphaëlle Boitel
Artistic Collaboration, Set and Light Design by Tristan Baudoin
Original Soundtrack and Sound Design by Arthur Bison
Costumes by Lilou Hérin
Rigging, Machinery and Set Design by Nicolas Lourdelle

February 20 – 24, 2019
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theater
219 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) When Angels Fall melds dance, aerial circus, slapstick humor, cinematic visual arts and more to weave a fantastical tale of fallen angels (or humans) trying to make sense of their harsh dystopian landscape and their places within (or without) it. As a synthesis of disparate disciplines, director and choreographer Raphaëlle Boitel has crafted a truly original new performance art, and this is a major artistic accomplishment in and of itself. 

Continue reading

Oct 02

Stepping Into “Hiveland”

Luminarium Dance Company’s HIVELAND. Photo: Short photo co.

Presented by Luminarium Dance Company
Choreography by Merli V. Guerra and Kimberleigh A. Holman
Performed by the dancers Jess Chang, Devon Colton, Melenie Diarbekirian, Amy Mastrangelo, Katie McGrail, Alison McHorney, and Jennifer Roberts

September 21, 22, 28,& 29, 2018
The Multicultural Arts Center
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Luminarium on Facebook

Written by Bishop C. Knight

(Cambridge, MA) This dance was called Hiveland.  It was a performance about the social psychology of approach and discovery, and it featured a group of dancers who shared a hive mind.  All of the dancers constantly managed their group conduct, condoning or condemning each other, and it’s interesting how the Directors used an experimental dance to explore societal values of conformity. Continue reading

Jun 28

Your Ticket is Problematic: LUZIA


Presented by Cirque du Soleil
Written by Julie Hamelin Finzi and Daniele Finzi Pasca
Directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca
Acrobatic performance designed by Philippe Aubertin
Composed and music directed by Simon Carpentier
Acrobatic choreography by Edesia moreno Barata, Debra Brown, Sylvia Gertrúdix González

June 27 – August 12, 2018
Suffolk Downs
525 William F McClellan Hwy
Boston, MA 02128
Parking available for $20.00
CdS on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Cirque du Soleil’s scheduling of its Luzia American tour is so poorly-timed that it’s nearly offensive. The producers couldn’t have known, could they? On the one hand, there’s the appreciation of Mexico’s song, dance, and natural resources. On the other, there’s the fact that ICE is indefinitely detaining immigrants as well as asylum seekers near the Mexican border. It’s deporting LEGAL residents across the US. It had been separating families because it could. “But why does light entertainment have to be dragged through politics? It’s just a show!” Because the political is personal, my friends. There are immigrants living in Boston who are at risk of deportation as I type. We, as artists and audience members, can’t forget the fascist actions of the the President because it’s convenient. We must be better. Continue reading

Jun 11

“A Chorus Line” as a Period Piece

Wahle as Zach with Ensemble. Photo by Herb Philpott.

Presented by Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston
Conceived and Originally Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett
Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Originally Co-Choreographed by Bob Avian
Direction; Recreation of the Original Choreography by Leslie Woodies
Music direction by Dan Rodriguez
Assistant Director/Assistant Choreographer – Lauren Gemelli

June 7 through 17, 2018
Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston
617 Lexington St., Waltham, MA 02452
Reagle on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Waltham, Massachusetts) I had never seen A Chorus Line so, for readers who are unfamiliar with this 1975 Broadway musical about life in show biz, please let me provide a brief summary.  On a bare stage, a group of dancers bring their headshots and personal histories to an audition where they share their birth names, stage names, birthdays, and ages, as well as their most formative life experiences.  There was a tough boy from the Bronx, another guy from a big Italian family, a saucy woman who flirted with the director, and fifteen more performers – all with large and extremely memorable personalities. Continue reading

Jun 04

Fingers in “Cold Blood”


Presented by ArtsEmerson
Original idea by Michèle Anne De Mey
Produced by Astragale ASBL
Co-produced by Charleroi Danses

May 30 to June 3, 2018
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Downtown Boston, MA)  The show began with a narrator sonorously incanting:  “It’s dark. You hear a voice. That voice will count to three, and at three you will be asleep.  One. Two. Three.” Continue reading