Nov 05

An Incomplete Canvas: And Neither Have I Wings to Fly

And Neither Have I Wings To Fly by Ann Noble, Bad Habit Productions, Deane Hall at Boston Center for the Arts, 11/4/11-11/20/11, http://www.badhabitproductions.org/index.html.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) A cast of actors must take on the nearly-impossible task of becoming a family in the space of mere weeks.  They must create the timing and intricacies of a brood that normally would develop over decades.  It requires trust, big heart and the ability to listen on stage.  It’s when a troupe, full of jitters from opening night, doesn’t quite succeed that you understand just how difficult that task can be. Continue reading

Nov 03

A Night At The Opera (a primer)

Boston Lyric Opera 2010/2012 Season. Puccini's Tosca. Floria Tosca (soprano Jill Gardner) makes a drastic decision to protect herself and her love from Baron Scarpia (bass-baritone Bradley Garvin). Photo by Jeffrey Dunn for Boston Lyric Opera © 2010.

Feature by Gillian Daniels, Interview with Julie House of the Boston Lyric Opera by Becca Kidwell

Opera remains one of the most intimidating arts of western culture.  It’s a beautiful art, though, one where grand epics and tragedies are played out on stage and human stories are set to songs greater and better than the daily drudge of reality.

Yet much more widely embraced among North American theatergoers is the musical, opera that has evolved in the past hundred years with more speaking parts and often more contemporary settings.  Musicals aren’t always lighter fair, but they are seen as more accessible than opera. Continue reading

Nov 02

The Divine Sister: Holy Moly!

A postulant (Sasha Castroverde, left) is serenaded by her Mother Superior (Jeffery Roberson aka Varla Jean Merman, right) in a scene from the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of The Divine Sister, running now thru Nov. 19. Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

The Divine Sister by Charles Busch, Speakeasy Stage Company, Nancy and Edward Roberts Studio Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 10/21/11-11/19/11, http://www.speakeasystage.com/doc.php?section=showpage&page=divine. Contains adult language and content.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) “The hills are alive–with the sounds of…” *gag* (Hold on. Sometimes when I get emotional I tend to gag. Well, not really, but a nun or two in this play do and it becomes a running gag). Charles Busch and Speakeasy Stage Company bring singing, biking, and wrestling nuns to the stage. With cheek and pluck, Speakeasy Stage furnishes a delightful trip to the world of nun movies, tv shows, and musicals.

Continue reading

Oct 30

This Verse Business: The Road Less Traveled Of Frost’s Poetry

Gordon Clapp as Robert Frost. Photo by Meghan Moore.

This Verse Business by A.M. Dolan, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 10/20/11-11/13/11,  http://www.merrimackrep.org/season/show.aspx?sid=101.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Lowell, MA)  There is an inherent problem in the study of classic poetry. Most of what is deemed worthwhile to scholars are works that tend to be genre defying and broke the conventions of the times they were written in. However, when a poet’s collection becomes so widely revered, scholars tend to set them as the new template for the system that the writer had originally broken through. This leads to the poems losing much of their edge and therefore becoming mundane to modern audiences. There is possibly no bigger victim of this “catch-22” than west coast born, New England based poet Robert Frost, and there is possibly no better cure for this academic sickness than a play like This Verse Business. Continue reading

Oct 27

Neighborhood 3: Sometimes You Need A Place To Go A Little Crazy

Neighborhood 3:  Requisition of Doom by Jennifer Haley, Happy Medium Theatre, The Factory Theatre, 10/20/11-10/29/11, http://www.happymediumtheatre.com/.  T for Teen, Tipper Gore should not see this show.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

“We need to protect the children”.  We have stricter movie ratings, tv show ratings, video game ratings, and explicit music warning labels.  So what happens when all of these fail?  What happens even before these fail?  Society corrupts the children; the educational system fails children; the welfare system fails children.  These days everything and anything are blamed when children get hurt or end up in trouble (watched any version of Law & Order lately?)except for children and the parents.  Neighborhood 3:  Requisition of Doom gives the avatars (performers) a chance to escape from problems while the game gives the players (the audience) no escape. Continue reading

Oct 24

Phantom Tollbooth: Topsy-Turvy Family Entertainment

The Phantom Tollbooth, based on the book by Norman Juster, book by Norman Juster and Sheldon Harnick, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, music by Arnold Black, Wheelock Family Theatre, 10/21/11-11/20/11, http://www.wheelockfamilytheatre.org/feature-performance.aspx.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) A musical adaptation of Norton Juster’s 1961 children’s book of the same name is currently being performed at the Wheelock Family Theater.  With an inventive, bright cast and set, the play is sure to fascinate younger viewers.  Continue reading

Oct 24

The Rocky Horror Show: My First Time Warp

Tad Mckittrick, Gene Dante, Ryan Landry, Kayla Foster and Laine Binder, from left. Photo by Michael von Redlich

The Rocky Horror Show, book, music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien, The Gold Dust Orphans and Club Oberon, 10/14/11-12/2/11, FRIDAY NIGHTS,  http://www.cluboberon.com/events/rocky-horror-show.  Mature themes, objects, and “blue” paraphernalia. 

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell (review contains innuendo) 

(Cambridge, MA) “Michael Rennie was ill the day the earth stood still/but he told us where we stand…” With climactic anticipation, I stood in Club Oberon to see The Rocky Horror Show live!  Since I saw the movie of Fame (the original, not the remake), I wanted to see The Rocky Horror Show live either as a stage show accompanying the movie or the staged musical.  Well…Friday night was the night… Continue reading

Oct 22

Well-Behaved Women Rarely Reach Old Age: WOMEN OF WILL

Nigel Gore and Tina Packer in Women of Will performing October 13 - November 6, 2011 at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

 

Women of Will, by Tina Packer, The Nora Theatre Company, Central Square Theatre, 10/13/11- 11/6/11.  http://www.centralsquaretheater.org/season/11-12/women-of-will.html

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Cambridge, MA) The female characters of Shakespeare’s plays are badly outnumbered by the males, sometimes fifteen to one, explains veteran thespian Tina Packer in Women of Will at the Central Square Theater.  In the Bard’s works, women often operate as others and also-rans, virgins and whores, rarely receiving the main focus.  But when they appear, their actions and emotions speak volumes, both about Shakespeare and society. Continue reading

Oct 20

‘Or,’ Women Will Have The Last Laugh

Aphra (Stacy Fischer) catches William (Ro'ee Levi) and Nell (Hannah Husband). Photo by Mark S. Howard.

 

Or, by Liz Duffy Adams, Lyric Stage Company, 10/14/11-11/6/11, https://lyricstage.com/now_playing/or/  Contains mature themes.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA)  A new age is dawning in the 1660’s.  Women are allowed to act.  Strict Puritan regulations have been lifted.  What’s a girl to do?  Aphra Behn, one of the first professional playwrights that was female, has some answers with the help of modern day playwright Liz Duffy Adams.  Lyric Stage brings a delightful evening of ‘girl power’ to the stage in this play of Restoration, modern, and post-modern ideals.   Continue reading

Oct 20

GoreFest 9: MASSacre General Hospital: Gleefully Gruesome Good Time

Gorefest 9:  MASSacre General Hospital by Laura Clark and Misch Whitaker, music and lyrics by Melissa Carubia, ImprovBoston, 10/20/11-10/31/11.  http://www.improvboston.com/gorefest?ref=slide.  For Mature Audiences Only.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Once again, ImprovBoston treats audiences to the guts and glory, but especially guts, of a Halloween comedy show.  This time, the theater gives its audience a seasonally appropriate splatter musical set in a hospital.  A young and more or less well-adjusted couple, Carla and Trevor, get into a car accident and venture into the Braggs Memorial Hospital.  Not so secretly, something about the facility is wrong, especially when Carla’s unborn baby starts getting a little too much attention. Continue reading