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

Sep 25

‘I Love’ traveling through the stages of love

Rehearsal photo by Jeff Blim

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro, music by Jimmy Roberts, Ciitizen’s Bank Performing Arts Series, The Palace Theatre, 9/23/11-10/8/11, http://www.palacetheatre.org/event-calendar.aspx?event=438&dt=9/23/2011&category=ALL.

Reviewed by Leah White

(Manchester, NH) The opening show of the 2011-2012 Season at New Hampshire’s Palace Theatre is I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.  It has four actors, several singles and marrieds, and many, many chairs.

The first act of this enormously funny show focuses on the dating scene.  With Jeff Blim, Kiley L. McDonald, Shane Patrick O’Neill, and Kelsey White onstage, and the audience rolling in the aisles, the preview performance was sensational.  Even the minor staging gaffes contributed to a wonderful evening of theatre. Continue reading

Sep 22

Next Fall: Don’t Agree, Just Love

Luke (Dan Roach, left) slips in a prayer before breakfast with his partner Adam (Will McGarrahan) in a scene from the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of Next Fall, running now thru Oct. 15 Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts, Speakeasy Stage, Roberts Studio Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 9/15/11-10/15/11,  http://www.speakeasystage.com/doc.php?section=showpage&page=nextfall.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

 “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” Thomas à Kempis

(Boston, MA)  Moments pass in a heartbeat.  All that’s left is waiting…waiting in hope…waiting in fear; the only choice is waiting together or waiting alone.  Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts does not try to moralize or condescend; it leaves its audience with the hope that love will transcend all differences.  The friends and family of the comatose Luke see the world through different viewpoints but connect at the core of their being–in love. Continue reading

Sep 22

Where To Stand When You’re In ‘Mortal Terror’

Will Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and John Marston (Stafford Clark-Price, Jeremiah Kissel and John Kuntz) Photo by Boston Playwrights' Theatre

 

Mortal Terror by Robert Brustein, Suffolk University & Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, The Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, 9/15/11-10/2/11, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) Each generation lives in fear of war, conflicts, pain, and death.  Each person has to choose how they are going to react to the conflict.  Mortal Terror addresses this puzzlement in Elizabethan garb.  Rowdy writers, absolute rulers, and crazy conspirators throw words back and forth until every character must face his own compass and decide on where he stands.

Will Shakespeare, the toast of Renaissance England’s theatre scene, gets the opportunity to write a play to legitimize King James’ rule. Continue reading

Sep 17

His Girl Friday: Justifiable Laughter

Left to right: Angela Brazil as Hildy Johnson, Stephen Thorne as McCue, Lovell Holder (Brown/Trinity

His Girl Friday by John Guare, adapted from The Front Page by Ben Hecht/Charles McArthur & Columbia Pictures Film, Trinity Repertory Company, 9/9/11-10/9/11, http://www.trinityrep.com/on_stage/current_season/CAB.php.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Providence, RI) John Guare lends his wry wit to his newest creation: His Girl Friday. With the talented cast, masterful direction, and clever design, the pre-World War II press room. With the black and white realities mixed in with the comedy, the play shines a light on the present ambiguities of justice, media manipulation, and political diversion. Continue reading

Sep 14

The Hound of the Baskervilles: Romping on the Moors

Bill Mootos as Dr. Watson and Remo Airaldi as Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles performing September 7 - October 2, 2011 at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. Photo: Elizabeth Stewart/Libberding Photography.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Steven Canny and John Nicholson, Central Square Theatre, 9/7/11-10/2/11, http://www.centralsquaretheater.org/season/11-12/the-hound-of-the-baskervilles.html.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Cambridge, MA) From the moment the lights go down…and up…and down…it is evident that Steven Canny, John Nicholson, and Thomas Derrah have studied two of the preeminent literature scholars:  The Reduced Shakespeare Company and Monty Python.  This spoof of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles’ hilarity starts from the theatre notifications and does not end until the final bows.  Central Square Theatre’s new season starts off with a bang (well..just don’t let Dr. Watson hold the gun). Continue reading

Sep 13

Trout Stanley: Twin Purpose

Trout Stanley by Claudia Dey, Exquisite Theatre Corps, The Factory Theatre, 9/9/11-9/25/11.  http://www.exquisitecorps.org/trout-stanley/.

Reviewed by Leah White

(Boston, MA) Exquisite Corps Theatre opens its second season with the delightfully odd Trout Stanley.  Set in the middle-of-nowhere Canada, the old brick walls of the Factory Theatre make the perfect backdrop for the shabby home of twin sisters, Grace and Sugar Ducharme.

We meet the twins on their 30th birthday.  Kathryn Grace’s “Grace” struts around the stage, big and bombastic, almost over the top as she describes her likeness on a local hunting store’s billboard.  Grace has a lust for life and a slightly unusual respect for trash. Continue reading