Nov 17

Dark Matters: The Truth Is In Here

Photo credit: Science Fiction Theatre Company

Dark Matters by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Science Fiction Theatre Company, The Factory Theatre, 11/4/11-11/20/11, http://www.sciencefictiontheatrecompany.com/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA, EARTH) The easiest thing in the world to do is to believe; the hardest thing to do in the world is to believe.  When a woman disappears and a husband searches desperately to find her.  She returns and her explanations seem dubious.  The quest for answers and understanding has a price for each of the characters in Science Fiction Theatre Company’s production of Dark Matters by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.  Was Bridgett Cleary taken by aliens or by something much more nefarious?  What is real and what is imagined?  The Cleary family seeks the truth out in the world, but finds it much closer to home. Continue reading

Nov 11

The River Was Whiskey: Tension for the Senses

Joe Lily, Nettie and Arlo (Alex Pollock, Sarah Newhouse and Kendra Jackson)

The River Was Whiskey by Will Fancher, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 10/27/11-11/20/11, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.  Contains mature themes, mature language,  and violent images.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) There has been an ongoing moral debate since man was first able to form laws on what the fate of the guilty should be. One school of thought is that redemption is available through either the forgiveness of a higher power or acts of contrition. Then there are those who believe that there must be a punishment for every crime and that an eye for an eye is the only way to balance the damage done. There is possibly no greater example of this dichotomy of thought than Old and New Testaments of The Bible. While the New Testament speaks of forgiveness for all sins through the following of Jesus, The Old Testament is filled with the wicked being punished by a vengeful spirit for their transgressions. This backdrop of faith and fear is the foundation of the Will Fancher play The River Was Whiskey. Continue reading

Nov 08

Moby Dick: Sobering One-Man Show

Conor Lovett in Gare St Lazare Players Irelands Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville, adapted by Conor Lovett and Judy Hegarty Lovett, ArtsEmerson and Gare St. Lazare Players, The Jackie Liebergott Black Box at the Paramount Center, 11/7/11-11/12/11, http://alturl.com/z4pzz.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) 

“Call me Ishmael,” performer Conor Lovett begins casually.

His hour and forty-five minute monologue makes up the whole of the Gare St. Lazare Players’ adaptation of Moby Dick. The way Lovett relates the story based on Herman Melville’s novel is restrained and often timid, however.  His Ishmael is a lost soul, marked by events he’s still struggling to parse. Continue reading

Nov 08

November: You’re What You Own

Photo by Reid Gilman

November by David Mamet, Hovey Players, 11/4/11-11/19/11,  http://www.hoveyplayers.com/news/2011-2012-season/november/.  Mature language and themes.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Waltham, MA) Jonathan Larson wrote, “when you’re living in America…you’re what you own…”; this idea is taken to the highest degree in David Mamet’s November.  Hovey Players hits the heartstrings of the nation as it skillfully examines American politics and policy as we struggle to define what a democracy is and what we are willing to sacrifice for that democracy. Continue reading

Nov 06

Lip-Gloss Feminism: Legally Blonde: the Musical

Kelly Felthous (Elle Woods), Will Ray (Warner). Photo by Paul Lyden

Legally Blonde, music & lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, book by Heather Hach, North Shore Musical Theatre, 11/1/11-11/13/11,  http://www.nsmt.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=947&Itemid=2283.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA)  

Dear Reader,

Do you want the long review or the short one for Legally Blonde: the Musical at the North Shore Music Theatre?

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the short one:

I gave a standing ovation to a bulldog, the first creature to come out for curtain call.  Go see this show!

If you have a bit more time, Continue reading

Nov 06

Spring Awakening: Must See Anachronistic Musical of Teenage Repression

Spring Awakening, music by Duncan Sheik, book and lyrics by Steven Sater, The F.U.D.G,E Theatre Company, Black Box Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 11/4/11-11/12/11, http://www.fudgetheatre.com/.  Adult Themes and Language.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

 

(Watertown, MA)  Spring Awakening is not a show I would recommend; instead, it is a show I would require audiences to see.  Despite the early-20th century backdrop of Germany, the pop-rock musical is a thinly veiled indictment of contemporary repression of teenage sexuality.  Members of the cast occasionally wear anachronistic clothing: goggles, fingerless gloves, and sneakers.  If not for the pervasive nature of the Internet in our modern times and the sometimes salacious information it provides, the play would be perfectly suited for a contemporary adaptation in Middle America.

Instead, we follow our main character, Melchior Gabor, passionately played by Jared Walsh, as he deals with the puberty, lust, and lack of information plaguing his age group.  The adults in his community, varied roles all played fantastically by Linda Goetz and Jim Fitzpatrick, refuse to give their children and charges any information that would make their transitions into adulthood easier.  Continue reading

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