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

Oct 17

Collected Stories: The Property of Intellect

l. to r. Liz Hayes as Lisa and Bobbie Steinbach as Ruth in Collected Stories. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Collected Stories by Donald Margulies, New Repertory Theatre, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 10/9/11-10/30/11. http://newrep.org/collected_stories.php.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Watertown, MA) Storytelling began as a way to pass on history and myths of a culture. In fact, some of the earliest stories were only credited when they were written down (for example, Homer with The Illiad and The Odyssey). Nowadays, even ideas are called into question. Birds can no longer Tweet ® and can only chirp due to Twitter receiving the trademark for the word “tweet”. Where do we draw the line? Are we the sum of our thoughts? Who owns the rights to what we learn and what influences us? New Rep’s production of Collected Stories examines these issues.

Continue reading

Oct 12

Twelfth Night: Foolish Games of Greatness

James Andreassi (Sir Toby), Steven Barkhimer (Feste) & Doug Lockwood (Sir Andrew). Photo by Stratton McCrady

 

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 9/27/11-10/22/11,  http://www.actorsshakespeareproject.org/season8/twelfth_night.html.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) With the help of the magical playground designed by Christina Todesco, Actors’ Shakespeare Project creates an entertaining evening of romance and folly.  The production touches the joy and pain of being.  And a fool shall lead them all…

Upon entering the theatre, the audience immediately encounters an abstract tempest upon a spacious performance area.  Something that seems to be a trademark of Christine Todesco’s designs, there is a ramp that ends up being used as a slide.  In addition, the columns on stage provide reflective surfaces for the characters to get lost in their own self-interest as imagined by the director, Melia Bensussen. Continue reading

Oct 03

The Farm: Paranoia and Uncertainty

Photo Credit: Boston Playwrights' Theatre

The Farm by Walt McGough, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 9/29/11-10/23/11, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) There is a very particular fear that runs through our country these days, unique to the new century. The threat of fascist world conquerors and nuclear holocaust has been stripped away for a much more mundane, yet equally terrifying threat. Extremist mass murders, with no concept of mercy or fear of death, dressed as everyday citizens are what our new public eye has focused on as the danger of our time. A danger that has caused many everyday citizens to rethink the people they see on the street as potential threats to their lives and national security. It is that paranoia, honed into a profession view point, that makes up the mind set of special agents of the C.I.A along with other bodies of authority, whose job it is to make the life and death decisions every day between who is an enemy and who is a civilian. So enters the mind set of Special Agent Finn, the central focus of Walt McGough’s The Farm. Continue reading

Oct 02

The King and I: Shall We Dance?

Lorenzo Lamas (The King of Siam) and Kate Fisher (Anna). Photo by Paul Lyden

 

The King and I, Music by Richard Rogers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, North Shore Music Theatre, 9/27/11-10/9/11,  http://www.nsmt.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=940&Itemid=2275.

Reviewed by Leah White

(Beverly, MA) The North Shore Music Theatre’s The King and I opened this week with television, stage, and film star Lorenzo Lamas in the iconic role of the King, joined by Kate Fisher as the strong-willed widow and teacher, Anna Leonowens. Continue reading

Sep 27

Candide–The Best of All Possible Shows

Geoff Packard and Lauren Molina in the Huntington Theatre Company's CANDIDE. Directed and newly adapted by Mary Zimmerman. Playing 9/10-10/16 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo © T Charles Erickson

Candide, Music by Leonard Bernstein, Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Adapted by Mary Zimmerman, Huntington Theatre Company, 9/10/11-10/13/11, http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/production.aspx?id=10114.

Reviewed by Leah White

(Boston, MA) Wow.  It’s hard to know where to begin when discussing Huntington Theatre Company’s Candide.  Mary Zimmerman’s new adaptation of this revered and much revised musical is staggering.

Based on Voltaire’s 1759 novella, “Candide, Or Optimism,” Candide was first produced as a musical in 1953 by the genius Leonard Bernstein.  Unfortunately, although he had the beginnings of a musical masterpiece, the show was not received well.  Reworked for decades, director and adapter Zimmerman has created a cohesive, brilliantly staged, beautifully performed work of art. Continue reading